Celebrating life through the powerful medium of sport
The Community Cricket Program (CCP), an ongoing sport for development initiative led by Pro Sport Development (PSD), is being implemented in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
To aid the participants’ preparation for the SCCWC, PSD partnered with its longtime supporter, Sumona DasGupta, to be a part of The Upamanyu Mallik Initiatives (TUMI) - a series of activities being conducted in memory of her late son, Upamanyu Mallik, with an aim to preserve Upamanyu’s indomitable spirit.
Having been an ardent cricket enthusiast, this partnership serves as a beautiful tribute to Upamanyu, ensuring that his passion lives on.
As part of this meaningful collaboration, PSD and TUMI organized a five-day exposure visit to New Delhi for eight participants of the CCP, who will be participating in SCCWC in September 2023 as ‘Team PSD’.
Embarking on an unforgettable journey
With minimal exposure to the outside world, coming to the capital city of India provided a remarkable opportunity for the participants to witness the vibrance of the city while also engaging in capacity building sessions.
As part of the trip, participants got to attend sessions on gender and child rights, play at lush green outfields, visit the historical treasures of New Delhi, watch a live cricket match for the first time, and taste the delicacies of the city.
The team consisting of four girls and four boys, accompanied by PSD’s community sports trainers, Pragatee Sethy and Bhaktamohan, set off from Bhubaneshwar to New Delhi on 14 June. With the
exception of one participant, it was the first time for all of them to venture beyond their home state.
Despite arriving 13 hours late on the night of 15 June, their spirits remained unswerving, as they eagerly awaited the exciting activities planned for them over the course of the next four days.
Kicking off with a blend of fun and learning
The activities started off on 16 June at the PSD office in New Delhi, with a full day of learning planned for the participants.
They had an opportunity to engage in a heartfelt conversation with DasGupta, and the PSD Delhi team. Remembering her son, DasGupta shared the motivations behind TUMI and the partnership with PSD.
Moreover, she eagerly seized the opportunity to learn more about the participants and their lives.
Following their introductory interaction, the Martha Farrell Foundation (MFF) team facilitated a session on gender for the participants, broadening their perspective and understanding on the concept along with addressing various gender-based stereotypes prevalent in society.
The participants were ready to visit Butterflies, an NGO working with the most vulnerable groups of children. During their visit, the participants were familiarized with how the organization has been bringing a positive change in the lives of street connected children through its various programs such as Butterflies School of Culinary and Catering, Street Education Programme and Child Development Khazana Programme.
An evening of fun games and a dinner party with the PSD staff capped off an eventful first day for the participants.
An exciting second day
On the second day, the participants had an opportunity to witness their first live cricket match, played with a leather ball and following all international standard rules.
The match also involved PSD’s director-founder, Suheil F. Tandon and project officer, Hariom Agarwal. At the end of the game, participants interacted with players of both the teams and gained knowledge about diverse cricketing experiences.
To support participants' preparation for the upcoming tournament, high quality cricketing gear was provided to all participants at the end of the match. This valuable contribution came in the form of a donation from Alwin Massey, the proprietor of ACE Sports, a sports equipment store in Dwarka, New Delhi.
This was followed by an interactive session on child rights and safeguarding, which was led by Atiya Bose, the chief executive officer of Aangan India - an organization dedicated to promoting child rights and safety.
The session built awareness and empowered the participants to learn about the fundamental rights that every child should have access to. The session also allowed the participants to discuss their own rights, their demands, and the issues they want to bring up to the Street Child Cricket World Cup Congress, a platform for those participating in the SCCWC to voice their vision for a fairer world, in September 2023.
The two-hour session with Aangan NGO proved to be impactful in helping participants understand how to hold adults accountable in order to foster more empathic relationships, support development, and meet their needs.
One of the participants, Papun Muduli, 14, said: “Grown ups should not be allowed to hit or harm children, it should be everyone's responsibility to stop it.”
Another participant, Muskan Nayak, 15, talked about gender issues she faces daily. She had, among others, said: “We need to stop discriminating between boys and girls and treat them equally, in schools and also in families.”
After lunch, the participants, along with the PSD team, visited the K9 School, in Chattarpur, New Delhi.
The dog training school has rehabilitated nearly one thousand dogs, having successfully transformed their lives. One of the therapy dogs at the K9 School was Phulki, who was rescued by Upamanyu Mallik himself from the streets of Santiniketan, New Delhi and is now a mainstay at the K9 School - a living testament to his compassion and love for dogs.
The visit provided the participants a unique opportunity to witness the process of training and interacting with well-behaved and obedient dogs. From observing obedient demonstrations to participating in hands-on training activities, the participants gained insights into the world of dog training, responsible pet ownership, and the importance of clear communication with animals.
A memorable send off
On their final day in New Delhi, the participants took a ride in the Delhi Metro and visited one of the popular historic sights, Qutub Minar. In the evening, the participants and the PSD team took part in a friendly cricket match at IIT Delhi organized by TUMI.
All participants, as well as others from PSD and IIT were divided into two teams - Kalinga Warriors and Bhubaneswar Blasters. During the toss, Papon and Soumyashree proudly represented Kalinga warriors and Bhubaneswar Blasters respectively, with the toss being conducted by Professor Ranjan Mallik, Upamanyu's father.
Focusing on fun and inclusion of all team members, the match gave the opportunity for the participants to gauge the experience of a real match, and put their newly learnt skills to test.
To satisfy the rumbling hunger after the match, DasGupta hosted a feast that included Upamanyu’s favorite dishes for all players, with many of Upamanayu’s close friends also present.
Everyone indulged in laughter, music and food as the five-day Delhi visit came to an end. On 19 June, the participants boarded the train back to Bhubaneswar, taking unforgettable memories and a wealth of experience with themselves.
One of the participants, Soumayashree Sahoo, said: “I was very happy to go to New Delhi by train for the first time. I never thought that I would get a chance to visit New Delhi. I got to learn a lot in delhi. I visited an NGO office where they were working with children. We had a great time meeting Sumona Aunty. Later we were taken to watch a cricket match and enjoyed it very much. We also played a cricket match at IIT Delhi and learned a lot. We had never played a cricket match before. We were very happy. The Delhi visit was a new experience for us.”
Road to the Street Child Cricket World Cup 2023
With preparations in full swing, all 32 participants of PSD’s Community Cricket Program will now gear-up for a one-day cricket tournament, to be organized by PSD and TUMI in Bhubaneswar, Odisha in August 2023.
The tournament will be named in the memory of Upamanayu. It will be a six-team tournament, out of which four teams will include participants from the CCP, representing different schools that PSD partners with. The remaining two teams will be from other partner schools of PSD in Bhubaneshwar, Odisha.
The nine-match cricket tournament will be played in the same adapted format as the SCCWC, which is scheduled to be held later in the month of September 2023.
SCCWC 2023 will be held from 21 September to 1 October in Chennai. The objective of the tournament is to harness the power of cricket to put a light on street-connected young people, adversities they face and to amplify their voice on a global stage. The selected eight participants from CCP, also part of the TUMI initiative, will also represent team PSD at the Street Child Cricket World Cup.
The joint initiative between TUMI and PSD was successful in expanding the participants'; learning horizons, giving them an exposure to the capital city of India and motivating them to put their best foot forward at the Street Child Cricket World Cup 2023.
This article was written by Pallav Mishra from Pro Sport Development.