Transforming school approach towards Physical Education.

We all know the important role academics play in a child’s life. But how important would you say physical education is for a child’s overall development? As it turns out – it’s quite important.

Various studies from around the world have stressed on how sports helps children develop problem-solving, self-evaluation and decision-making skills. India’s National Sports Policy of 1984 recognized clear links between physical and mental development of children and thus recommended the need to include physical education (PE) and sports as an integral part of the school curriculum.

UNICEF has long been active in India with initiatives to promote physical education, but realized that sports and PE were still not being given the same status as academic subjects. To address this, they developed Physical Education Cards or PEC to facilitate effective PE sessions in schools (by even non-PE experts, since most primary schools do not have a dedicated PE teacher).

While UNICEF was developing and testing out their PEC initiative, Slum Soccer was kick-starting its own initiative “Edu-kick” which focuses on using football to promote primary education for the children from the underprivileged section of the society.

In 2016, UNICEF decided to partner up with Krida Vikas Sanstha (Slum Soccer) to leverage the existing PEC approach and provide training to 300 teachers from 300 different schools in the Chandrapur district of Maharashtra. The aim of this partnership was not just to provide training, but also to measure and assess the impact from these trainings on students from these 300 schools.

With considerable assistance from the Chandrapur district administration, a combined team from UNICEF and Slum Soccer successfully conducted training of the 300 teachers, who then went on to their respective schools and further trained other teachers on the use of PEC. The training sessions did not just include understanding of the PE Cards, but also involved having these teachers on the field and playing the games they learnt about in the training cards.

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At first, most schools nominated only male teachers for the training sessions, but as we progressed, we saw some incredible participation from female teachers who displayed such enthusiasm on the field, that they overshadowed most of their male counterparts!

With the training sessions complete, we are now underway with the next important task of tracking the impact on students. All the teachers from the 300 schools have been asked to record details on a mobile application from the PE sessions they conduct for their students. The app asks them to enter details such as which game they played, duration of the game and even the level of involvement of the teacher trainee themselves. All of this is verified by mandatory pictures they must click in real time as the games are being conducted.

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The larger objective of this entire programme is to have an impact report which will indicate if PEC has managed to instil the importance of physical education and sports in school curriculum and how effective are the outcomes of such activities on the students themselves. Using this impact report, UNICEF and Slum Soccer aim to showcase to the Maharashtra government the effectiveness of the programme for wider application across schools in the state.

In order to develop this report, we are already receiving data from the apps, but apart from that, we also have Training Monitoring Officers (TMOs) – 4 government officials of the district and 2 from Slum Soccer – in place who are each responsible for a set of about 10-12 schools where they conduct surprise visits and assess how the activities are being conducted for the children.

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Second trail for Homeless World Cup Oslo

We want to ensure that we get the best squad to represent India at the Homeless World Cup 2017 which is to be held in Oslo, Norway. To that front, we organized our second and final trial program on 18-19th June 2017 at the Slum Soccer Academy in Bokhara, Nagpur.

We saw participation from 23 players, both men and women, who had come from across the country in order to get selected. They went through multiple tests during the two-day trial program.IMG20170602085202Every year, since 2007, we have only selected the best players to represent our country in the Homeless World Cup tournaments.

The trails are not only about playing the game of football, but also about having a second chance in life to transform oneself. Every single struggle brings out the best in us and that’s what these players stand for. Coming from slum communities, their determination is what magnifies their talent.

The trials began with an introductory session by the coaches and trainers. There were various sessions on the performance & strategies of other global players & teams, team coordination and so on. In each and every game, the performance of the players was observed by our coaches and trainers. The details were analyzed and subsequently, the improvement tactics were implemented. There was also a verification check done on the background and other personal & professional details of all the players. This would help them while participating in any international match.

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Finally, 8 men and 8 women players have been selected, who will be representing India at the Homeless World Cup to be held in Oslo, Norway from 29th August to 5th September, 2017 at the iconic Rådhusplassen, Oslo.

HWC trails have brought together the most deserving players from some of the most neglected parts of the country who will be representing India internationally. They shall go through rigorous training sessions. The dream team will represent India in the Homeless World Cup and bring home laurels.

Game Changers Module-2

Slum Soccer organized the second module of Game Changers from 8-10th June at Taywade college in Nagpur and 19-21st June, 2017 at Gyan Ashram Andheri in Mumbai.

The participants were first asked about their expectations from the 3-day youth leadership program. Gender equality, leadership, life skills, and confidence were some of the topics of main concern. The first day mainly focused on communication skills, children’s rights, and team building exercises.IMG_4497-2The second day began with a review of the lessons learned the previous day. The first activity was to make a PowerPoint presentation on an assigned topic and present it in front of the other teams. The leaders did an amazing job and made the presentations informative and interesting. The next activity was a far cry from the usual stuff – the students had to create their own resumes and give a job interview! The idea was to prepare the leaders for the future to make them self-reliant. Their performances were evaluated and improvements were suggested.

On the last day of the program, the leaders were involved in many enthralling activities such as ‘Radio Jockey’ and ‘Late Night Talk Show’ which helped enhance their communication and management skills. Many other activities were also conducted such as essay writing, drama and quizzes.

Its time to appreciate the coaches, leaders, and the entire slum soccer family!

The Slum Soccer family celebrated its founder’s day on 2nd May 2017, at the Bokhara center, with the aim of bringing all of our members, children, coaches, leaders, and staff together to promote interaction and celebrate our accomplishments as a team.

The event was initiated with the birthday celebration of our founder, Prof. Vijay Barse, where we witnessed some memorable dance performances, street plays on social issues, and a tailored football tournament called “Equality Pass” which focused on eliminating communal inequalities. Special tokens of appreciation were given to the best performing player, coach, center, manager and also to the winner of the said tournament. The awards are given to our members for excellence in different verticals of the organization and are meant to inspire passion and earnestness.IMG_3019It is rightly said that one should never forget their roots as success depends on the journey and not the destination, which is why we, at Slum Soccer, celebrate our founder’s day, to honor our past and remain grounded. Slum Soccer invites members from all over Maharashtra to come together and celebrate the birthday of our beloved founding father at the India Peace Centre in Nagpur. After a noon full of exuberant activities and effusive talks, the evening culminated in a cake cutting ceremony and a vote of thanks.

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Be Empowered

More than half of the girls that we work with tend to lose their confidence during puberty with the onset of their menstrual cycle. One of the key reason for this is the lack of information.

In order to break taboos and raise awareness about the importance of good menstrual hygiene for women and adolescent girls, Slum Soccer organized a workshop on this topic on 31st May, 2017 at the Chitnavis center in Nagpur. Around 50 women and teenage girls attended this event.

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The workshop commenced with a set of questions to identify the level of awareness among the attendees. We concluded that the only cause that was stopping young women from playing sports was fear.

So, to address this issue we invited gynecologist & obstetrician, Dr. Archana Deshmukh, to conduct the workshop. She gave a presentation about how to manage menstruation hygiene. And as Slum Soccer’s main method of helping everyone is through the medium of football, we conducted some games that were designed specifically around this topic. Football has always been the most creative tool for us to go about issues. It engages everyone and make them more focused on the field.

Special thanks to Dr. Archana Deshmukh for her contribution in empowering girls and women in the field of sports.

Steps towards creating a safe environment for children

Children are our primary beneficiaries and to engage with them in a safe and conducive environment is our first priority. For creating such an environment, it is equally important to make aware all the stakeholders of potential issues while interacting with young children.

To address issues around child safety and rights, and as a part of our many endeavors to improve the lives of youngsters in constructive and creative ways, we conducted a workshop on children’s rights on 26-27th May, 2017 at the Slum Soccer Academy in Bokhara. A total of 15 young leaders from the local communities in Nagpur attended this workshop to increase their knowledge on the subject.

The workshop started off with a display of some pre-existing games to our leaders so as to give them a better understanding of how games can be designed to make children aware of their rights. The leaders then had to list 10 of the most important rights that any child should know.

The next step was to discuss and come up with original game designs in which the leaders showed outstanding creativity. A brainstorming session was also held to make the games more engaging and fun. The workshop consisted of both on and off-field sessions.

Football is a game that has the power to captivate a child’s attention and that’s why the leaders use techniques like passing, dribbling and heading, to design the games. After all, as Maria Edelman famously said, “If we don’t stand up for children then we don’t stand for much”.

Shakti Girls Summer Camp Amravati

After conducting  summer camps in Hinganghat and Wani, we realized the potential of utilising summer holidays to engage and create long term impact amongst girls in these underserved communities. Sports or more specifically football has always been the most productive tool for us to empower and help underprivileged girls in developing their potential.

This summer camp was organised from 25 to 28 April (2017) for girls in Amravati. The programme was supported by the ‘Michael Johnson Young Leader’ initiative and Isha Sipahimalani. The primary goal of the camp was to channelise the energy of girls towards sports and create awareness of women’s rights by conducting engaging activities.

Through this programme we successfully reached out to 50 girls in Amravati. These girls were taught skills in football and were made aware about gender equality, female empowerment, health, wellness and hygiene. They were also taught self development and leadership skills.

We concluded the program by organising a ‘Fair Play’ tournament.

Roshni and Ganga on the move

 

On 8th of June 2017, Roshni and Ganga were presented with their own bikes. For the very first time in their lives they didn’t have to depend on their brothers or parents to go anywhere, from now on they won’t have to arrived late at school or miss out.
The girls received these gifts from Isha Sipahimalani who visited their homes earlier this year and was taken by their plight.
These two girls were unable to attend regular school as it was quite far away from their village. These bikes they can not only get to school on time but also take part in football sessions.

A big thanks to Isha and her family for supporting us.

UEFA Grassroots Day

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Summer time means a lot of fun time for most kids, however for children from slum areas, this leaves a lot of time to engage in mischief or to just while their time away. With this in mind, we conducted a “Grassroots Summer Camp” from 8-15th May, 2017 at 5 different slum locations in Nagpur, supported by Anders Hellermark. The goal was to reach out to children from underprivileged backgrounds and train them in football along with teaching them some important life skills. The program was conducted in the following locations – Taywade, Gumpthi, Gumthala, Sevanand and Bokhara.

Around 200 children participated in this training program across all locations. We concluded the program at the Slum Soccer academy Bokhara by organizing Grassroots Football tournament (4-A sided) to celebrate UEFA Grassroots day.

Children experienced matches as well as workshop on team work, health and wellness.

The winning team from Bokhara lifted the ’Anders trophy’.