from a football club to an integrated community based grassroots organization - the journey continues.
With a view to stem the increasing use of drugs amongst the youth of the village and surrounding areas to provide better livelihood opportunities to the underprivileged children and youth, Gurmangal Dass, a young resident of the village decided to form a football club and thus YFC came into being. The aim was to use football as the means to divert the youth from drugs to a more active, productive and healthy lifestyle. This team worked hard the fields to win prize money tournaments and away from the field they volunteered in building infrastructure, raising funds and educating children and youth. In this sense, YFC is truly a grassroots and community organization with strong emphasis on overall rural development through community participation.
Residents of the village assisted in the setting up of a football ground and two practice pitches by hauling soil from nearby locations, leveling it, laying an underground irrigation system and laying the turf. The farmers brought 300 trolleys of soil from a place 20 km away in just three days. Volunteers sweated hard to level the field and plant grass on it. From the very beginning, the YFC ensured that the community would play an active role in curbing the problem of drug abuse and since then the community participation has been the hallmark and essence of the initiatives of YFC.
Now YFC has its chapters in UK, Canada, America and Europe. Taking serious note of youth delinquency and drug addiction; psychological problems such as anger, aggression, depression and insecurity due to non availability of resources and skills required to go through differentphases of life; prevalent non availability of productive activities for children, adolescents and youth; lack of positive life skills lack of careerconsciousness and positive competition, lack of role models for adolescents and youth; lack of professional guidance and counseling services; absence of any platform for children to use their energy, enthusiasm and after school free time, YFC has set up a ‘Social Centre of Excellence’. This centre, apart from achieving excellence in sports, also has the all round development of rural underprivileged youth and children as its primary goal and objective.
From being a football club to an integrated social service organization with imprints in other sports, education, health, environment, youth development, YFC Rurka Kalan has had a long journey and is making all efforts to play its part in areas of community betterment and rural development.
Also from raising money by winning tournaments, performing bhangra on Lohri (a festival celebrated in India and especially in Punjab with a lot of fervor and enthusiasm) at the homes of the villagers and by putting up cycle stands for fund raising to raising funds from NRIs, corporates and grants distributed by national/international organizations and Government authorities, the fund raising activity has also come a long way. The most interesting part is that the tradition of raising funds on Lohri still continues and has become a part of the village’s folklore.