For the fourth summer in a row, marginalized Indian school kids aged 9 to 14 spent two weeks learning and playing basketball — a sport most of them had never heard of before — under the tutelage of a diverse population of volunteers at the Hoops
Creating Hope camp in Chennai.
The summer program took place this year from June 29 to
July 10, and it is a slice of the international Crossover
Basketball and Scholars Academy nonprofit organization
based in the United States. The nonprofit pairs athletics and
a curriculum crafted to stress the importance of education as
it applies to an individual’s success. What has resulted at
Hoops Creating Hope is an environment where kids in India
can absorb life lessons that encourage them to dream big,
work hard, and respect all human beings despite and for
The idea was born approximately five years ago to
Crossover’s president and founder, Shaun Jayachandran, an
educator and basketball coach at the Winchendon School in
Winchendon, Massachusetts (India Abroad, August 22
2014). Around 2010, Jayachandran, who has familial roots
in Chennai, came across the statistics of India’s school retention rates.
According to the Teach for India Web site, 60 percent of kids
in India drop out before high school, and only 9 percent actually graduate high school. Couple that with the fact that one in
every five kids in the world is in India.
“If 20 percent of the kids are in one country and yet 90 percent of that population isn’t graduating high school, who is
going to be in that developing economy? In a country that is
bragging about its emerging middle class, in a country that is
supposed to be the next world leader?” Jayachandran asked.
Jayachandran, who moved to the US from Alberta, Canada
when he was 17, and who has been playing basketball since he
was 13, began reflecting on the opportunities that he had been
given in his own upbringing and how sports played a pivotal
role in building his own identity.
“I started playing with the idea of how to piece this vision of
academics and athletics together,” Jayachandran said. “Sports 4M14
The Hoops Creating Hope summer program in Chennai is a slice of the Crossover Basketball and Scholars Academy nonprofit organization based in the United States. COURTES Y: SHAUN JAYACHANDRAN
Giving wings, finding roots
The Hoops Creating Hope story not only leverages sports to help
underprivileged children in India, but also gives second and third
generation Indian Americans a way to discover India on their own
terms. Simanta Roy Buck tracks this double narrative.
GIVING WINGS, FINDING ROOTS
India Abroad August 7, 2015
THE MAGAZINE M13