"they have been making masks with the sewing machines"
Canadian Indian MMA fighter Arjan Singh Bhullar has been helping his native village in Jalandhar to empower women and fight the Covid-19 pandemic.
The heavyweight, who fights in ONE Championship, has always looked to use his career as a platform to inspire Indian citizens, transcending the boundaries of sports and looking to make a change in society.
The 34-year-old has been providing sewing machines, cloth and various other materials to help the women of Billi Bhullar village to make face masks during the crisis.
Bhullar has also built a facility where the women can socialise.
He explained: “I have been frequently visiting India since I was a child.
“We have built a very special place within the village for the women to gather, as they, unlike men, have nowhere to go and spend time.”
The amazing women of my village Pind Billi Bhullar making #coronavirus masks for the village. This place is named in honor of my grandma Bibi Gurmit Kaur Bhullar. Machines and cloth donated by the family. Bibi would be a very proud woman today?????@SikhPA pic.twitter.com/CBcUfcyAgH
— Arjan Singh Bhullar (@TheOneASB) April 9, 2020
Bhullar went on to say: “The women have a great time there and during the pandemic, they have been making masks with the sewing machines that I have procured for them.
“Today, these women are not only self-sufficient but are also helping and empowering the entire village and the neighbouring region.”
As well as helping the women of the village, the MMA fighter has also helped build a gym to help the younger generation, taking them off the streets and helping them to change their lives through sports.
Bhullar said: “We built a gym shortly after the 2010 Commonwealth Games for the youngsters.
“It’s connected to the local school and kids come to practice sports from the adjoining villages too.
“The kids have all taken on sports in a professional way and it keeps them focused.”
“I want to make my village a model village and spread the message that anything is possible all over India when the intent is right.”
Arjan Singh Bhullar won a gold medal in wrestling for Canada at the 2010 Commonwealth Games and competed at the 2012 Olympics before switching to MMA.
He became the first Indo-Canadian fighter to sign with the UFC in 2017 before signing with ONE Championship in 2019.
After defeating top contender Mauro Cerilli by unanimous decision in October 2019, Bhullar is now next in line for a title shot.
He will next face ONE Heavyweight world champion Brandon Vera once the health crisis subsides.
Arjan Singh Bhullar currently has a professional record of 10 wins and one loss.