THE MARATHON BOY TRUST FUND
Working with Gemma and Matt on Marathon Boy brought home to us at Renegade Pictures the importance of the orphanage started by Biranchi Das and now run by his widow Gita. And we were very touched by Budhia's story. We thought people seeing the film would feel the same way and the Trust was a way for them and us to give support to both Budhia and to the orphanage.
Executive Producer - Marathon Boy
In Orissa State, India, there are an estimated 800,000 child workers. One man, Biranchi Das, was determined to make a difference to the lives of as many of these children as he could. His mission was to cultivate an environment in which destitute children could feel safe, discover their potential and grow in self-worth. Over the last 20 years, his Orphanage & Judo Hall has provided food, shelter, schooling, mentoring, discipline and camaraderie to hundreds of street children, slum children and disadvantaged kids from the tribal regions of Orissa. And this, despite the fact that Biranchi Das was a poor man himself, living on the edge of survival.
Under Biranchi’s guidance, many of these children have gone on to become India’s gold medal judo champions while others have excelled academically. Manoj Kundun completed a law degree here. He now spends his daytime as a lawyer and his evenings teaching judo to the younger children. He has chosen to stay at the orphanage: “I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I first came here at the age of 5, so why would I ever want to leave?”
From 2005, UK-based film-maker, Gemma Atwal, self-funded regular trips over a five-year-period to document life at Biranchi’s Orphanage & Judo Hall. One of those children she filmed with was Budhia Singh, the subject of her film, MARATHON BOY.
Since Biranchi Das’ murder at the hands of hired hit-men, the lives of the forty children who reside permanently at the orphanage are uncertain. Many are still traumatized from being key witnesses to the brutal death of their mentor and father-figure. The state government is now threatening to repossess the land that the orphanage is built on, which means that Biranchi’s children face eviction from the only home many of them have ever known. They could be forced back onto the streets, into a life of scavenging, child labour or prostitution.
Alarmed by this prospect, the film’s producers decided to set-up the Marathon Boy Trust to help secure the futures of Budhia Singh and all Biranchi’s children.
About the Marathon Boy Trust
The Marathon Boy Trust operates as a charity and is dedicated to providing a source of funds for the children who feature in our documentary film, MARATHON BOY. There are two ways in which you can make a significant difference to their childhood. You can choose to support Budhia Singh through a fund dedicated to his welfare, or you can choose to support the children who reside at the Orphanage & Judo Hall. We will regularly update the website to let you know how much money has been raised and how your donations are being used to improve their lives.
Kindly note that 2% of your donation will be deducted by PayPal administration. 98% of your donation will be spent directly on Budhia Singh
Kindly note that 2% of your donation will be deducted by PayPal administration. 98% of your donation will be spent on the Judo Hall & Orphanage