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Former India Head Coach Gary Kirsten levels the playing field for backward kids through his foundation

Kirsten envisioned using cricket as a vehicle for positive change in this challenging environment

Gary Kirsten Foundation

Former India head coach Gary Kirsten has extended his impact beyond the cricket field by spearheading a transformative initiative in the Khayelitsha township of Cape Town. Recognised as one of the largest slums globally, Khayelitsha is often associated with poverty, crime, and drug-related issues. However, Kirsten, upon returning home, envisioned using cricket as a vehicle for positive change in this challenging environment.

His journey began with a tour of Khayelitsha, where he discovered a lack of cricket activity in the area. This revelation prompted Kirsten to establish the Catch Trust Foundation in 2014, formerly known as the Gary Kirsten Foundation. The foundation’s primary goal is to divert children from the perils of drugs and violence by providing them with opportunities through cricket.

The foundation operates in five schools in Khayelitsha, aiming to create sporting ecosystems in low-income areas. Its guiding principle, “Talent is universal, opportunity is not,” reflects the commitment to offering equal chances to children irrespective of their backgrounds. The foundation claims to have positively impacted over 1000 kids in the 5–19 age bracket, fostering discipline, fitness, and dreams of a brighter future.

Gary Kirsten’s foundation becomes a beacon of hope!

The success stories emerging from the foundation include a thriving women’s team, with some players reaching the provincial representation level. Kirsten’s vision transcends cricket, aiming to make a lasting contribution to South African society by providing sports opportunities to underprivileged youth.

One such beneficiary is 15-year-old Lukholo Malong, a spinner in training, who credits the foundation with keeping him away from negative influences. Expressing dreams of becoming a future South African player, Malong draws inspiration from cricketing icons like Virat Kohli, emphasising the transformative power of sports in shaping lives.

In a township marred by poverty and violence, Kirsten’s foundation becomes a beacon of hope for youngsters like Malong and his friend Tylan, who aspire to emulate cricketing stars such as Rishabh Pant and Jos Buttler. By fostering a love for the game, the foundation not only provides an escape from challenging circumstances but also instills values of perseverance, discipline, and ambition.

Gary Kirsten’s philanthropic efforts, embodied in the Catch Trust Foundation, exemplify the potential of sports to bring about positive social change, creating opportunities for marginalised youth and nurturing dreams beyond the boundaries of the cricket field.

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