Jaydeep Kadam grew up in the slums of Mumbai, acutely aware of the chances denied to the poor. Determined to help as many kids as possible to escape this scenario, he started Sai Garjana Foundation. Started in 2013, the foundation teaches martial arts to children belonging to underprivileged communities for free.
Jaydeep started learning martial arts when he was in his school and he joined Spirit Taekwondo Fitness Academy, where he received advanced training. Having found both a career and passion in taekwondo, he decided to take it to the children who cannot afford it. Apart from equipping them with crucial self-defense skills, learning martial arts also provides economic stability for the children if they excel in it. Talking about his passion to Mumbai Mirror, he said,
I have experienced the hardships of a life in slums. There is a big difference between children from slums and those from the town,. Anyone can make money, but I wanted to do something different for these children. Learning and mastering Taekwondo can instill discipline in them and open up opportunities. They can apply for admission to colleges or seek a job in sports quota.
Jaydeep works part time in an international school as a taekwondo coach and at the Taekwondo Association of Maharashtra. These jobs take care of his financial requirements, as he goes about finding and teaching children from municipal schools.
Apart from teaching them for free, Jaydeep also takes care of the nutritional, medicinal, and other expenses of the children. His students are largely children of domestic laborers, painters etc. And in some cases, the children themselves work part time as child laborers to help their families financially.
According to Sai Garjana Foundation's Facebook page, four years since he started the foundation, Jaydeep is now teaching more than 200 children from three BMC schools. Most of them are shining at district and state-level competitions which, apart from securing them a government job, also boosts their self-esteem.
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