New Delhi: Glad tidings are in store for
four children from the most marginalised communities in
Kolkata as they have been chosen to walk the Lionel Messi-led
Argentina and Venezuela players out into the ground ahead of
the friendly match at the Salt Lake stadium on September 2.
While millions of Messi`s fans will have to be content
with watching the match live on TV, these children will be
standing at an arm`s distance from the genius, thanks to an
initiative by "Save the Children", a child rights organisation
that works in India and in over 120 countries across the
The organisation has has been chosen as cause partner for
the match to be played in Kolkata.
Each of these four children is either a child labourer or
has been rescued from hazardous child labour situations.
Fourteen-year-old Rajen Bhuia is one of them.
"I go to Salt Lake everyday to practice for three hours
early in the morning and I am a player of the team East
Calcutta District Force, Kishalaya. To watch Messi play live
will be the most unforgettable moment of my life. One day, I
want to be a football player like him," said Rajen, who is a
resident of Tangra slums.
Thomas Chandy, CEO, Save the Children, said: "Messi was
fortunate to overcome a growth hormone deficiency to become
the legend that he is today but for millions of children in
India, surviving beyond the age of five is a big question
mark. Nearly 2 million children under the age of 5 die every
year in India. This should not be so."
"Using the platform provided by the match we would like
to draw the attention of people that they too can and must
contribute to making a change in the lives of children,"