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Power of sport in the life of a marginalised child


Power of sport in the life of a marginalised child

A foreign volunteer working for Magic Bus India, shares his perspectives on his first ever visit to the 'slums' of Mumbai. He soon finds rejection of his own stereotypes, compassions with the sensitivity and complexity of their problems. A short passage ultimately leads to a rudimentary view of the concept of Sport-In-Development, and how it impacts a child living in marginalised circumstances.

SINDHU JOGI, a Magic Bus community relationship manager, sips her CHAI in a local restaurant in Mumbai and recites, ‘ our work takes a lot of time… but we remain optimistic’. MS JOGI, an NGO professional with over 25 years of experience, her eminence and the contrasting difficulties still observable in slums today provoked deep feelings and thoughts. Thoughts of what the true focus of sport should be, in order to make the most significant changes.

I’ve always believed that the work of an NGO is about persistence. The truth is, changes are never easily pertained. Neither are they apparent regardless of the cause. So rationalising the relationship of sport and how it contributes to clear-cut evidence of social change; it is a critical issue that requires further discussions.

My first experiences of ‘slums’ in Mumbai somehow left me with a unique astonishment, that coincided with my stereotypical views of a slum. It is true that problems of hygiene, sanitation, latrines, and economic deprivation did exist, and are signs of poverty that require alleviation. However, each ‘slum’ community had different facets, and there were varieties of ways people lived, and most importantly, there were distinctions in the standards of living.

In some of the so-called "slums", I was impressed by how well people settled in such clustered areas. For example, I came across communities that had well-tiled streets, communal water systems, a communal toilet, electrical systems and well-managed shelters that generated a genuine community atmosphere. Secondly, I found out that their problems are not often materialistic such as the lack of food, or lack of electricity. Frankly speaking, many of them had running electricity 24hrs a day with a refrigerator, TV and washing machine. And thirdly, people: I realized how bright and inspirational people in the ‘slum’ areas can be, and no matter how illiterate they may be, they were very smart, with genuine intelligence of socializing and interacting.

However, in slum areas, in the midst of the economic extravaganza of 21st century India, enduring chains of social malfunction are still preeminent. Having talked to other NGO workers in India, the problem was apparently down to the misrepresentation of the ‘people in the slums’, and a genuine alienation that exists within the Indian societal strata.

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Yu Maruyama


Monday, May 2, 2011 - 11:00

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