New Delhi: The Golden Baby Leagues, a unique initiative for kids between six and 13 years, has helped fight the menace of drug trafficking in Pulwama, Kashmir, a statement from the All India Football Federation (AIFF) said on Sunday.
The effect of illicit drug trafficking has always made the parents think twice before letting their children go out and freely mingle with others.
“Earlier, parents used to be apprehensive about allowing their kids to hang out with others because you could not anticipate how and when the youngster would fall in the trap. But Golden Baby Leagues has been a real game-changer in Pulwama,” said League operator Zahid Shafi Mir.
“Now when they lace their football boots, parents feel a solace at the back of their mind. As they kick the football, their parents kick the fear out of their mind,” Mir added.
According to a recent report by the United Nations Drug Control Programme (UNDCP), more than 2,50,000 Kashmiri youngsters, comprising a fair share of 19 per cent girls between the age group of 17-30 are involved in drug addiction. Even an under-construction school building in the Mugalpora area of Pulwama has turned into a hub of drug abuse.
Pampore in the district of Pulwama, which is renowned for saffron cultivation has also been in the news for drug trafficking but Golden Baby Leagues have brought in a breath of fresh air amongst the youngsters.
“There are dozens of villages in Pulwama where the youth are addicted to drugs. These drug addicts resort to thefts and are sources of menace. Football has helped us find a positive solution to address this issue. Since the introduction of Baby leagues, which got rechristened as Golden Baby Leagues later, has helped the parents trust their wards,” added Mir.