Andrea Thumshirn: "Hockey Village India" | Talks at Google
Very. Good afternoon everybody I. Want. To talk a little bit about the. Last six, years of. My life and how. It happened that, I came. To India, so. First of all I want to show you a small video that shows the environment. In which I spent the last six, years of my life. So. Now the question arises, why. Why. Did I leave my, job, my family a, good, life in the, capital of Germany Berlin. To. Live in, a. Tiny. Little remote village, in Rajasthan. To. Coach and teach the. Children of the village I. Was. Always very adventurous. I love, to travel and I, come from a very sports-related family, my. Grandfather, my grandmother my uncle my auntie my mother my father my whole family was engaged in the local sports club we, all grew up in volunteering. In the sports club in coaching, and playing. Different kind. Of sports and so. It was in my blood and I am what I am today because of sports. I. Started. My own travel agency. So. That I could travel all the time and, one. Of my favorite, destinations, was India I was always traveling, around looking, for new places where, I could bring my clients of the beaten tracks to. Show them the real country. My. Business partner came from Jaipur, and his, mother came from a little village which. Was halfway between Agra, and Jaipur. So, we thought it would be a good idea to bring our clients, for a lunch break to, a little Indian. Village show, them the real village life traditional. Life colorful, life and. Host. Them for a lunch break. Maybe. The kids of the village could show their village and the. Local family could have some extra income so, the. Family, lived in this ruined. Fort, they were the, former. Rulers the Rajput of the village and I. Started. Dreaming of maybe, I, could. Teach, them some hockey the village kids they have nothing to do and maybe. We could have some, space. In front of the fort where we could start coaching. So. I shared my dream with the local, and they were saying yeah you can have the space in front of our fort we don't use, that and you. Can try so in 2010. I was hosting, a veteran's. Hockey team from Vienna from Austria and we, brought some hockey sticks and we had a training session with the kids and. So. The kids were so excited and, then I started. Dreaming that yo this would be a great story if I if I could make a difference in that village so, obviously my business was still in Germany and, I, could only coach them once, in a while when I was in India otherwise, nothing. Much, happened in the village so, I tried to hire volunteers, from Germany who could bridge the gap when, I was not here but that, somehow, didn't work out then. I thought okay maybe. I could run my travel business online and. I. Could. Sit in that village maybe I would have less, clients than before but I would need not, so much money to, survive here and I could, coach, and teach the kids so, I, gave everything up in Germany I sold everything I closed my office and I reconstructed. Two, rooms in that old, fort and, I. Called. A roller and, a tractor and we leveled the ground. Here in front of the. Fort and we called the kids for, practice I went, to the local schools and I wanted to especially, encourage, the girls to. Play hockey. With me and I. Brought sticks and I coached. Them for a training session and I invited, them to come in the afternoon after school to.
Our Hockey ground and I also tried, to offer them English classes because I didn't speak any Hindi they, didn't speak any English though the mode of communication. Was very basic there. Was an old temple and the, family provided, me one, room which. We used as an open-air classroom, and I started, giving, English classes, where some of the kids would, show up in the afternoons but I realized, that you, know that traditional. Indian schooling. System with kids, happily repeat what you tell them but their brains are not working. Anyhow, that, doesn't work much and they don't learn anything so we. Started. Speaking. On the hockey ground so actually, all the kids learn, speaking, English, while, plane. This. Was our, village. Hockey ground we, made a boundary, wall around and it was very dusty. Especially. During, the hot summers, it was almost. Unbearable, but the kids would show up everyday and they didn't mind and so. We had a kind of time-sharing agreement. With the local cows which. Would rest on that place while, we were not playing and. So. The kids always tried to sneak in late because the first one who came had to remove the, remainings, of the cows and. So. Yeah we had, so many kids that, I could not, make. Like. Get hold of them and they, were very wild, so I started, learning the colours in Hindi and I bought t-shirts, and different colors that, I could say the, pilla. Group, is there the lolly is there and stuff it is over there and I got some older. Students. Of the village who, helped. Me in coaching, in the beginning. So. I. Tried. To make them understand, and also for me, don't. Dream. Your life live, your dream, so. Then after one year. Practicing. I. Showed them the movie Chuck to India they, got very fascinated, that was a funny story because I, bought. An old screen and a, beamer and, invited. The kids to, watch with me the movie and you, know I bought that we brought the cables out of the Ford and there was some power, cuts obviously also and, we. Had to show. The movie when the Sun was almost. Going down so that we can see the movie and we. Put some chairs up and kids, were sitting on the ground and I, was fascinated watching, the movie and. I was so excited about my idea and after, half an hour I looked around and only the farmers were sitting around me because the kids already went home because. When when, it's getting dad they all have to go home so. Yeah, so they only saw half of the movie nevertheless they, got very much inspired and they said Andrea we also want to play so, my friend he was the hockey coach in the DPS school, in Jaipur and they, invited for our first match so, we went by train to. Jaipur, which was already the first big. Excitement. And I. Feel, so privileged, that I could share all these first. Moments with the kids you know they saw the big city they asked me Andrea. How to go upper like, how, they. Can go up these huge buildings and, how. There's all these traffic works and, the. First time in their life they were wearing sports shoes she, impaired socks, so. Chandu. My local partner and I we were sitting next to each other one was putting up the socks one, was putting inside the shin pads and then we sent them on the ground and the. Whole stadium was full with privileged. Children in white school, uniforms, the, green grass, was, Wow they have never seen such a grass in their life and we. Realized, that you know we were quite, malnutrition, compared, to the city. Children which, were according. To the coach the same age group which I don't. Agree, but yes. This was the next lesson that we had, to learn life, is not fair. Especially. When. It comes to sports, and competition I, had to learn my lesson the hard way in India if it's under 14, it's. Maybe under 70. So. Then I thought my. Project, needs more awareness, I need, to raise funds so how I'm gonna do this so I have to room, around the country so, I bought a rickshaw and, I. Drove, from. Jaipur. To tonight. Two. Thousand four hundred kilometres. In 13, days and I can tell you it was the best way to know. The country, every. Hundred kilometers different, dhaba different food.
The. People were so friendly and welcoming, I, had to I had to drink chai with each and everybody everybody wanted, to know like what, the hell is that white woman doing in that rickshaw and we had a two meter hockey stick on the roof. So. We'd, be promoted, I mean we didn't raise any funds to be honest but, it was a great experience and, we were in some newspaper, highlighted. And you know there was some awareness of the project at least and it was a great experience to. Drive all along the country, yeah. So it, I I try, to encourage, the kids that you have to sit in the driver's seat of your car, of. Your life, in, villages they, are only driven by the, village society, by their parents, they do what they what the parents, want and. Later. On they, do a job which they, don't want but the parents want of the neighbors wonder the whoever, wants, but not them so, sports. Teaches, you to be self-confident, to understand, what you want in your life so. Then obviously the girls also wanted to play and my. Focus was anyway on the girls, the. Problem was just that their school uniforms, the skirts were quite long so it was very difficult to run and, a. Regular. Hockey skirt would be very, brave, for a village, girl to wear that, was too short so, then, my fashion, design diploma. Came into, accounts. So I got, a. Tailoring. Machine and I tailored, hockey, skirts which were a little longer then. The. Regular, hockey, skirts and the. Girls loved, them and I. Always had my silver suitcase, where I put all the socks she empaths, shirts. And, skirts, and we, would travel with the train this. Time we went to Haryana and the, girls had their first match, but. That. Was again a very, enthusiastic from, my end because, it, was I think it was April, May it was like 40 45 degrees, it was a burning, hot and we, had to wait for the MOOC at DT. Which. Is more, important, than longer you have to wait. So. The. First children, already fainted. Because, of the heat and we. Finally, had then our match and, this. Is my. Daughter. Kavita so I took, care of her she didn't. Have a mother and I, brought her the best Puma shoes from Germany, and is, it Andrea Toru. Tight she wanted to play bare feet she was the, wild jungle, kid she wanted, to, play bare feet as for, her convenience, and not with my good, spot. Shoes that I brought for her then. We. Played our first all in KD, singh babu under, 14 tournament, which is by the way the only under 14 tournament, were really under 14 teams. Are playing in. Lucknow, and they had a really, really good sports canteen. So. In, Rajasthan. Most, of the families are vegetarians. And it's. Even you are a bad person if, you are a non-vegetarian so I'm from Germany I am, a non vegetarian so, that was always some. Blame to put on me or a. Bad influence that I have on the children because, I'm eating non-veg so. This is Lokesh, he, was our goalkeeper he was the smallest. Of all and he saw all the other teams eating eggs. For, breakfast, and, butter and, everything and he was asking, me Andrea. If. I eat eggs, I get strong. You. Can try, so. He was he. Went to the buffet he got one egg the whole team was watching him he survived, the egg and, all.
All, The others one by one also, took one, egg by the end of the tournament, everybody had four eggs for breakfast. And since that time it, was always our secret, if, we went out for tournaments, together the, first, question, was and three, of you eat omelette. So. They knew that this is something good but they are not allowed to eat this at home and somebody was even asking, me if his, mother can smell, that he eat eggs. There. Was literally, scared. So. We. Always extended, most, of the time we were out in the first round on tournaments. Because we were the youngest, but. To get, more experience I always ask the organizer, if we can stay some to three days longer first of all you, travel all the way, for. One match and then. The, food is so good and, they. Don't get that kind of food at home plus, if they watch matches, they also can learn a lot so we always extended, our stay and we had lovely, food everywhere this. Was the Nehru Cup in Delhi. Where they together. With all the state teams. We're. Doing the March pass and you can see here our hand-painted. Flag and. The. Kids were thrilled, they. Floodlight. Bukata, tea. Astroturf. Astroturf, in, Delhi. Wonderful. Yes. If you have a dream, sky. Is the limit. Then. The. Next. Crazy. Thing I did was I imported. A secondhand, astroturf, from Germany and. It. Was quite an action. Because it was the first secondhand. Astroturf, that came to India and nobody at the customs, knew how to handle that how, to evaluate, a secondhand, asset or from Germany and how much tax I have to pay so. After, I overcame, this the, huge truck, with the astroturf came from Gujarat. Port to, Rajasthan, and we, had a huge part in I thought like my, dream is coming true we have an astroturf, I made it happen in Rajasthan, there, are only two astronauts, and I have number, three and, I, can make this happen for these children and. Had a huge party, and it was nice, and great in the, next morning, 8. O'clock, Saturday. One of my girls called me and she said Andrea please. Do come to the ground police, is there there. Is a problem. Ok. So, we went to the ground the. Ground work was already going on it was a government, project and. The. Sports ministry sanctioned, money, everything. Was nice, huge. Stones blocked, the entrance the. Sad punch was sitting there on a plastic, chair and. Around, three hundred villages with, singing, freedom fighter songs angry. To go home, today. She's ruling the hockey ground tomorrow, she's ruling, India we, don't want history to repeat itself I. Feel. Like, are. They talking about me what, does that mean. Truly. The hockey ground I. Signed. That this asset earth will be government, property and I, donate. This to, the community all, I want, is that these kids can play on an astroturf.
So. I had to load my astroturf, again. Rescue. It to. Another place and store. It somewhere so. The dream. Of the astroturf was on hold. Then. I thought okay if my kids cannot play in rata Sun on an astroturf I bring, them to Germany. So. I took five boys. For. Two months in the summer holidays to. Germany where they stayed in German, families for two months had. Lovely. German food and. Played. In a German club and. Surprisingly. They could compete, with the. Kids of their age group and they. Got so much exposure, and, so much learning. For their future life that. Nobody. Can ever do, for, them in their life again so. They came back and everybody, was thinking, that maybe. Maybe. They don't want to go back but. They. Were so bonded with their families, in there so we're so proud to tell all their stories and bring all the chocolates, home and you, know benefit. From the experience, and tell everybody and. Motivate. All the other kids, so, that there, was a big, battle for the next year that who would. Be the privileged, ones who could come with me to Germany so since. That time every. Year we. Select some children the. Best ones who were present. In practice, good in studies good, in hockey and good. Attitude. Good discipline, and, we take them to Germany and we, find a lot of sponsors in Germany who support, this hockey clubs who, host them and who. Find, this a very great, idea to, integrate, them in their teams so. Deepak. My, so-called. Son he. Was the lucky one he even went with me to Switzerland and he was, so amazed that these cows give, 14 litres milk while. His Buffalo. At home gives maximum one liter which. Is enough for a cup of chai for his grandfather. Then. I. Thought. Ok sports is good but I should, involve. Myself more in education because, that is what counts. At the end and. Out. Of that old temple, we. Made a school so. I had German volunteers, with me and with our own hands, we knocked, down walls and ceilings, and the whole village was standing outside watching. Us how these. White people can do, this labor work which is actually the lowest level of work, that you can do and we were working hand in hand with the local laborers who, earned like 250, rupees a, day and we, had a lot of fun we. Had a lot of fun to build a school with our own hands, and we. Started, the first, English, medium school with. Our. Little, ones, so. I want to show you a small video from. Our school. How. We. Tried. To, teach. The village kids in a state-of-the-art. Way. Yes. So our school, was a primary. School English. Medium lkd, ukg, and class one two three and four. Unfortunately. We. Also had to shut, down that. School. April. This year because, our. Local partner, misused, foundation. Money and. We. Bought land to, lay out that astroturf where you saw that where the kids were playing we already made a concrete, base to, finally, lay out that astroturf. So that dream was a little closer. But. The local partner registered. The land in his name and we, had to file a big case against. Him and, the. Result was that he was threatening, all the children and was. Beating them up in school. Whoever. Came for practice so out of 80 children, who were daily there, for practice who. Played for the district who played for the state nobody. Was allowed to come anymore. We, didn't get any support, from the parents and. We. Were raising the question that you. Know we can only work and continue, if you stand, by our side and if, you understand, what, this. Project is all about and. Only. One family was, standing. Up and they were even from the neighboring village. So. We decided, to leave. This place we got threatened for our lives and there. Was no way to continue, so. We got an offer from, Cork. Where. There is obviously. More awareness about sports. And, we thought that maybe we have a better start there it. Was a big. Decision. To, you, know get all the energy again together and all the motivation, and overcome. The. Bad, experience, and struggle and loss that. We were facing in Rajasthan and start again but. We said okay we do it for the children and, we. Packed. A truck. With. All our belongings mainly.
Hockey, Equipment and, school equipment and we. Have two, Labradors and. So. My husband, and I, and the two Labradors, were. In the truck and for, 70. Hours and. 2,400. Kilometers, we. Were driving, from, je. Dois de in Rajasthan, to. Cork to. Set up a new hockey village and. Since. Three months we are working with the local primary school, grade. One to seven, we. Coached them in hockey and we. Teach English. And math for grade one two and three they're, all children, from the Labour. Forum. The coffee plantation. Labour's and. We. Hope that we. Can make a difference, there again I, still. Believe that we made a difference in Rajasthan, we. Left our footsteps behind and we. Took three of the, children with. Us. Aged. 15. 16 and 17, Shivani. Got, selected, as the. First and only girl, from Rajasthan, for the National Academy and, she. Is playing at the moment senior, nationals, at the age of 15 for, Addyston and I, hope she has a bright future and. Rohit. Is from, Goa he. Lived with me the last three years in Rajasthan. And I took him now to cook. He. Has a learning. Disability he's, a, suffering. From Malika's Teaneck so he can't properly. Read and write but, he's a brilliant sports, person, a brilliant, excellent. Cook, and. He's. Repairing, each and everything he's, making, bamboo rafts, and he's, the king of the jungle in cook and. Deepak. He's, 17, he's also, a very good hockey, player and he became our plumber. And electrician because, we live so far away in the jungle that even, if he call her an electrician, or a plumber takes, 10 days until somebody, comes so. He's. Keeping, our. Activities. Alive by, making. Jugaad, here, and there. And, yeah. So we brought, these three kids from, Rajasthan, so, this is, what. We could, take with us and still. Kids. Are calling us and asking us like when do you come back or do. You open a new school we want to come to your school so, at least for the children I think we made a difference, and. We. Want. To continue the same thing. In cook so. That is Shivani, she. Came, as, the first girl to Germany two years back and she. Played an excellent, seasoned. For one, of the best clubs in Germany and. So. Now we are thinking if we again bring her to Germany but we don't want to miss out any trial for her because, you. Never know when any selector, is spotting. Her and inviting. Her because, last year the trial for the National Academy, she, didn't manage to get. A space, because. Of all the struggles that we had in Rajasthan she didn't practice for some time but. Now in Coug we trained, her well and, she. Is fit and we. Hope that she has a bright, future and will one day play for India so. She was very easygoing, the coming. From a village the first day in, Germany, she was very the hot tens of her German, sister she was, completely. Adapting. To, the German, lifestyle, which is very. Surprising but, I think that, gives her a really bright future because she is very open-minded her. English is pretty, good she's, doing, now NRS. Means, open schooling we teach her at home and she's, doing that in English all, subjects. She is doing she's doing bio and chemistry in English and this. Is brijesh he was three times in Germany and he. Got a job, with, the Tyson crop. Elevators. In Jaipur, even. If he only has a Hindi. Medium 12th, grade pass. But he was. So motivated and, Tyson. Krupp said okay he is so brilliant.
We, We take him. Unfortunately. His parents, thought, more of a government, job and. Didn't, allow him to take the job. Well. Let's, see maybe he. Will fight his way through but. He is a very very bright and brilliant. Child. And he will make his way I'm sure yeah. So there, will be a day in your life when you look back, in what you did in your life and didn't, make sense did it make any impact, did you make a difference, and that. Was actually my motivation. To start. This project and to go ahead and ahead in a hat because I think, I cannot forgive myself if I stop, because. I think I can still motivate. And encourage so many more children. Thank. You. You. You.