Improving lives through sport via Bathalapalli
Bathalapalli is one of only two Rural Development Trust (RDT) development centres in Anantapur. Since its inception in 2005, Bathalapalli has always been an instrumental medium through which RDT has channeled its efforts to develop the lives of children through sport. The centre contributes to the all-round development of the children through sports, computer education and nutrition.
Bathalapalli, just like its counterpart Atmakur, gives children from nearby rural communities the opportunity to involve themselves with one of three sports, namely football, cricket and kabaddi. Children are trained in these sports twice a day, six days a week, supported by qualified and adequately trained coaches.
The aim is to enable the children to be computer literate. For this they have full-time tutors who assist the children in the theoretical as well as practical training. The children are taught the essentials about computers including parts and use of the computer, how to operate Windows, MS Office and basic use of the Internet. They are constantly encouraged to learn typing in English and the local language of Telugu with the use of basic typing games and other computer learning tools.
Computer Teacher T. Rupa helping her student with some notes
Since the children who visit this development centre are mostly from nearby rural villages, they lack the knowledge of the essentials of a balanced diet, its importance in one’s life and its benefits before and after training, especially as young sportspersons. The children are provided added nutrition of eggs, milk and a snack during training, including a morning breakfast before they leave for school. The focus is to educate these children about the importance of nutrition in one’s daily life, and provide them with additional nutrition to aid their daily needs.
Football at Bathalapalli involves a total of 50 participants including 14 girls and 36 boys while the kabaddi sessions have 42 children, with 20 girls and 22 boys and another 15 boys learning to play cricket. The children are trained under the watchful eyes of four fulltime coaching staff: football coach D. Riyaz, kabaddi coach T. Hari Kumar, cricket coach H. Ravi Kanth and computer teacher T. Rupa.
Involvement with Special Olympics athletes
The Bathalapalli Development Centre shares their ground with the Special Olympics athletes trained by RDT’s Community Based Rehabilitation (CBR) Team. The children are often seen mixing with these athletes. Despite the fact that the Special Olympic athletes are children with special needs, it is great to watch the development centre children interact with them with no inhibitions or barriers of intellect. This interaction has two positive aspects as the children develop a closer understanding of these athletes and other individuals with special needs, and the Special Olympic athletes in turn are presented with the opportunity to socially integrate into society thanks to their involvement and the help of the other children.
[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]