Team India’s footballer Nirmal Chettri who has recently been devoting some time to giving back to the community expressed that it was the likes of Bhaichung Bhutia and Renedy Singh who had inspired him to take up philanthropic causes.
“My biggest inspiration was Bhaichung-bhai and Renedy Singh – especially Renedy bhai. Whenever I spoke to him there was never a dull moment – he always used to talk about giving back to the people, giving back to the society,” Nirmal told AIFF TV.
“I have to mention Sanju (Pradhan) and Bikash (Jairu) with whom I personally got in touch. We always talk about what kind of work we want to do and help society and the community. I always try to give back to society and the youngsters.”
The 30-year-old fullback has founded a club in his locality called FC Melli in Sikkim. Not only does the club play tournaments, but they also look to arrange different charities for the less fortunate every couple of months. Most recently, Nirmal and others from the club helped arrange a blood donation drive to help out in an emergency situation that arose in his town a few weeks back after the second wave of the COVID pandemic struck.
“We always keep on reading about shortage of blood. Hence, we planned to have a blood camp. Almost 80 people registered for our drive,” he stated. “It is all about trying to save lives. I just want to appeal mostly to the young ones — people between 15 to 45 – who haven’t got their vaccinations yet to go to your nearest health centre, or hospital and donating. Simply because once you are vaccinated you can’t donate anything for a month.”
“We have a group where people come and tell us about the problems they are facing. We try to extend our help in whatever way we can,” said Nirmal. “Footballers get a tag that we have been getting so much. At the end of the day, we are also humans, we cannot reach everyone. But in an era of social media — if we get a message or a call from anyone — directly or indirectly, we try to reach out and help them.”
For Nirmal, it is the normal act of giving back to a society that gave him so much as a footballer, which makes the act so gratifying.
“I remember when we used to play local tournaments in our younger days, we would go around collecting money from all the spectators if we won,” he laughed. “I am so grateful to the people of my locality – to have so much love. That is why whenever I can give something back to society, I feel blessed.”
“I am grateful to have people around me, who always stand by me. I am very straightforward and reachable. We may have limited resources, but we must strive to make the impossible possible. I am very thankful to the team of friends around me, who have helped make these initiatives work, and we hope to keep on helping people,” said Nirmal.