Game Changers – Youth Leaders Transforming Communities Through Sports

The people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do. – Steve Jobs

The ideology of changing and developing lives through football is the core of Slum Soccer’s belief system and to further it,  we have devised a Youth Leadership Programme inspired by the United Nations’ Programme for Youth Development. True to its name, Game Changers is an initiative that is breaking stereotypes and conventions and developing youth through the game of football.

This unique ’F4D’ Program is about Football (Soccer) for Development. There are training sessions specially designed for ground and classroom learning. Various issues and challenges faced by the underprivileged are addressed and direction & guidance are provided to the youth.

The programme is a process that begins with recognising the need areas by surveying slums. A contact person from each area helps Slum Soccer connect with the youth there. They are the ones who help the trainers understand the challenges and problems in that area. After the recognising problem, the potential candidates are chosen and included in this programme.

The programme managers are hopeful about the talent everywhere. They believe that every individual has special qualities; it is important that such individuals are recognised and trained well. They become coaches, trainers or mentors and contribute in developing more lives.

The training comprises of off-field and on-field sessions. It has three levels of development. The level one training means one has completed the basic level, level two is the intermediate stage and level three is advanced. After successfully completing all the three levels, the participants are awarded certificates. The graduated ones (those who have completed three levels) get opportunities to represent India at the international level where countries like Japan, South Korea and Sweden participate.

The training is conducted at three locations in India – Nagpur (headquarter), Mumbai and Delhi. Slum Soccer has successfully connected & developed 1600 youngsters since the inception of the programme about four years ago. The programme is an ideal example of how an untapped talent, when recognised, creates wonderful results.

The learning through football gives participants a good understanding of the sport as well as the issues surrounding them. The concluding day of the programme is a great highlight. The participants get a hands-on experience of what they learnt by providing solutions to real problems. They are guided by the experts to make their solutions more effective.

There is a month’s real time experience period after the training where the participants apply their methods and remedies to issues in their areas. The results have been promising; the difficulties and obstacles have been reduced and we are hopeful of greater progress with every next step.

The topics of study covered in this programme are vast as Leadership Development, Gender Equality, Education, Social Inclusion, Team Building, Equal Opportunity, Soft Skills, Communication and so on. Each topic is handled from it core concept and deeper insights are provided as the training moves ahead. The classroom sessions consist of lectures, video presentations, case studies and role play. This way of learning is a complete learning methodology for development. Truly, Game Changers is about developing lives, making them independent, empowering them to take their own decisions and ultimately lead others from similar circumstances. It takes a team to win the game.

This program is being supported by Sony Pictures Network India.


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