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Thursday 8 December 2016

Heaslip gets his hands dirty to help charity

Fiona Ellis

Published 05/07/2011 | 05:00

Rugby star Jamie Heaslip working at one of the brick kilns in the slums of Kolkata, India, with aid agency GOAL
Rugby star Jamie Heaslip working at one of the brick kilns in the slums of Kolkata, India, with aid agency GOAL

HE IS no stranger to hard work, but rugby star Jamie Heaslip was left exhausted when he rolled up his sleeves and toiled alongside some of India's poorest children.

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The Leinster number eight travelled with GOAL to visit some of the projects the charity supports in Kolkata, India.

He decided that instead of simply watching what the poorest families go through to survive, he would try the back-breaking work for himself.

He shovelled clay, pushed wheelbarrows full of mud, and carried and stacked bricks for hours in intense heat at one of the 35 brick-making factories on the outskirts of the city .

Entire families, including children as young as five years of age, work at the kilns, moulding thousands of bricks for as little as €1 a day.

"Physical labour is physical labour, but it is the conditions at the kilns that make it so, so hard. There is no air-con, there are no union breaks, these people slog from dawn to dusk under intense heat and humidity," he said.

Heaslip also visited some of the city's dumps, where the charity is providing help to families forced to scavenge amongst the rubbish for anything they can sell for food.

Heaslip praised the work of GOAL, which is providing much-needed water, sanitation facilities and education.

Irish Independent

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