From Delhi's slums to the Liverpool Academy - Mohd. Tanjeer could finally meet his destiny
It’s 3:30 am, and the city of Delhi is in deep sleep. But just then, there’s a hint of some activity in the western corner of Vikaspuri slums, as Mohd. Tanjeer, a 16-year-old boy, is tying up his worn-out shoes to reach the public ground on time. Tanjeer has been selected from among more than 1,000 aspirants for a place in the DSK Liverpool International Football Academy in Pune and is looking forward to a new day where he can hone his skills further.
Soon after, Tanjeer is joined by many children from all age groups. All of them head to the ground where they wait for their coach. When Sylvester Peter, the coach, arrives, all of them rush to greet him. He is their beloved “Sylvester Bhaiya”. Sylvester Peter is the founder of My Angels Academy (A registered Trust for underprivileged children) and is the “life” and football coach of all these children whom he calls “Angels”.
Mohd. Tanjeer started his journey with Sylvester and My Angels Academy when he was 4. He comes from a poor family and his father is a construction worker and his mother works as a house maid to feed Tanjeer and his 3 other siblings. Till a few years back, Tanjeer was a rag picker, but with the sport of football, he now looks to rise up and succeed. He trains every morning along with other children of the Academy from 3:30 am till 6 am.
As the park is supposed to be off limit for slum children, almost daily the practice session is thwarted around 6 AM by security and other people. The going wasn’t easy for Tanjeer and he almost lost track by getting addicted to drugs. He would sit inside the large street-side dustbins and children used to tease him by calling him Kachhra (garbage). It has been the efforts of Sylvester which have brought about the drastic change in Tanjeer’s life. In Sylvester’s own words, he transformed the boy “through football and love”.
Sylvester says that the purpose of the academy is “to provide dignity to slum children by providing moral, theoretical and holistic learning so that they can be self reliant and live a good life”. “I named the academy ‘My Angels Academy’ as it invites everyone to help these Angels”, adds the coach.
The efforts of Sylvester and Tanjeer over the years bore fruit recently when Tanjeer was selected by DSK Liverpool International Academy in Pune, which is a full-time residential academy with world-class infrastructure and coaches with support from Liverpool FC. It was a remarkable achievement for Tanjeer to be selected along with the best football talent in the country, many of whom had the monetary resources to have access to the best facilities and training.
However, this excellent news was dampened by the fact that a significant amount was required to pay the annual fees of the Liverpool International Academy. Though My Angels Academy is a registered trust (Regd no 12110), it has been functioning mainly with the personal savings of Sylvester Peter and his friends for the past 18 years. There has always been a cash crunch and lack of resources to support the training of 120+ children.
Everyone at My Angels Academy has been trying hard to raise funds for Tanjeer. They want to give the youngster every chance to train with the best facilities and try to make a name for himself in the sport. They also feel that Tanjeer’s success can be a catalyst for the other “Angels” at the Academy and in fact all over the country and inspire them to rise up and chase their dreams despite the odds being stacked against them.
However, all this will be only possible if My Angels Academy are able to gather the required funds (approx Rs 5.3 Lakhs) to pay the fees of academy. It is a significant amount, but with contribution and assistance, it is possible.
My Angels Academy is reaching out to people for any kind of financial/non-financial help. Any contribution, big or small, is welcome. Your help and support can change Tanjeer’s life and help him carve out his own destiny by giving him the wings to rise from the slums of Vikaspuri to success, maybe even at Anfield.
Contact : +91-9811895134/9811692195: firstname.lastname@example.org for your support.
Vikaspuri, New Delhi