Using sport to engage with underprivileged children
Pro Sport Development (PSD) has initiated a community based sports programme with underprivileged and marginalised communities residing in the slums of Bhubaneshwar in Odisha, India. PSD has started the implementation of the programmes in two schools catering to the children from Bhubaneshwar’s largest slum, Dumaduma.
These schools encourage children to take up formal education instead of working from a very young age to support the financial needs of their families. Working with these schools has provided PSD an opportunity to engage the children in interactive sessions using sport as a tool for development. The programme is aimed at holistically developing the youth, by aiding their social, emotional, mental as well as physical development. It will aid in the development of the children’s ability to communicate effectively, work well within a team and learn to mutually respect their teammates and opponents. It will further encourage the concepts of camaraderie, inclusion and co-operation. Also, the programme will help children to grow in self-confidence and learn to take up leadership roles.
The programme also focuses on increasing the children’s abilities of focus, memory and concentration, which they can transfer to their academic learning. The children, aged between 7 and 13 years old, most of whom have never participated in a structured sports programme, seem to have a resource of energy that never depletes.
After completing only a couple of weeks, the schools’ teachers and authorities, who were extremely supportive of the programme’s implementation, are convinced that the children are benefitting from their experience of participating in such a programme.
[This article has been edited by the Operating Team]