Jaydeep Kadam- The Taekwondo Man of Chembur, Mumbai
Jaydeep Kadam, a resident of Chembur in Mumbai, has taken upon himself to give direction to the poor children’s lives through the martial art of Taekwondo and prepare them for a better, brighter future. He does this through his Sai Garjana Foundation that teaches children for ‘free’. This is his story.
Jaydeep Kadam grew up in poverty in the slums of Chembur in the nineties and was hard pressed to find the right opportunities for himself. He then took upon himself to not let the other poor children face the same situation. Three years ago, he started Sai Garjana Foundation to ensure this. He says, “Teaching Taekwondo to these kids from the struggling communities will instill discipline in them, which will help them remain focused in life”.
These children are from the municipal schools. He further adds, “There is a big difference between the kids of these municipal schools and those from big private schools. These kids are often looked down upon and have to work extra hard to get to a respectable position in life. By mastering Taekwondo, they can become eligible and apply for jobs under sports quota”.
Kadam is a hard working man himself who devotes his time between his job and his passion. He works at an international school as a coach; as a clerk at the Taekwondo Association of Maharashtra, and trains the less fortunate kids in his free time. The folks of most of these kids work as masons, domestic help and labourers. Some of these kids work as well. But he makes sure that all of them are on time for the coaching.
He started all this in 2013 and began visiting BMC schools looking for such kids. He soon started off with 70 kids and this number grew to more than 200 in a very short time. These kids started performing extraordinarily in their curricular and inter-school sports events. It gave them the required confidence to compete with the kids from private schools.
Success Stories in the Making
Some of his success stories include a student who recently secured four medals- one silver, three bronze- in Kolhapur’s state-level Taekwondo championship. Another kid, Shravni Kumar from a local school has participated in four events off late and won three gold and one bronze medals. The most successful story is that of Deepali Wadhe (seven gold medals) of 10th standard who is now just one gold medal shy of being eligible for sports quota in government job.
Small Pockets, Big Heart
He has never charged a single penny for his work with these children. But sometimes there comes a severe cash crunch. He plays instruments during festive season to earn and save up for such hard times. This is a big feat especially when you consider how much it costs to put one kid through the training. He tells us, “One kit costs INR 3000. One set of uniform costs INR 1,200. On an average, it costs INR 20,000 to train 50-60 students. Add to this the cost of INR 500 per kid for tournament registrations”. Apart from these costs, Sai Garjana Foundation also helps the kids with traveling, medicine and nutrition bills.
Not many people can boast of the deeds that Jaydeep Kadam is performing. Such a noble act deserves our appreciation. His chosen way of helping kids is Taekwondo. Like him, even we can try to be of help to the needy; we can be that hand that picks them up and work towards a better world.