A part of our world is equipped with technology-made-easy automation and progress. A major part of the world is not so fortunate to even dream of fulfilled basic amenities. There are barriers, there are difficulties and there are champions who overcome all this.
Prasanna came from a small village with a bag full of dreams never realising one day those dreams will become his identity. He met Jaspreet with similar dreams, but a different life story. Jaspreet was the shy son of a strict and discipline-loving military man. They crossed paths and carved a new life out of all the challenges.
Prasanna’s first encounter with Slum Soccer’s coaches was something like this. He went to the ground where practice sessions were on. As he was not allowed to play for the reason that his stamina would not last long, he was offended and challenged to play. Soon he realised the coaches were right, that addictions would only make him weaker. He started playing and knew what kind of magic football can create. There is a positive intoxication in sports. It takes you with itself and makes you a great player.
As they say, the rest is history. Prasanna never looked back since then. His hard work and dedication blessed him with the opportunities to represent India twice – Homeless World Cup, 2011 (Paris) & Youth Leadership Programme, 2014 (Japan). Prasanna says, “My journey of living a quality life started when I joined Slum Soccer. Since then, I have only moved ahead in life without letting difficult times pull me down.”
Jaspreet, initially, did not have the courage to tell his parents about his love for football and his dream of associating with this sport for life. As a result of his efforts and dedication, he was selected for Homeless World Cup, 2014 (Chile). Belonging to a conservative family, it was challenging for Jaspreet to convince his parents. “They started accepting things when they saw me grow and when they witnessed my progress.” He recollects.
The duo has been a part of Slum Soccer for quite a long time now. They have been trained in all the necessary Life Skills. The Livelihood Training has made them independent and enhanced their abilities. Career Counselling cleared their notions and they found their life goal. “Slum Soccer was the reason that we could gather the courage to take a decision and make it right,” They say.
Sports materials available at most places are too expensive and not affordable without a financial support. Many good players are left behind as they do not get the required material due to high costs. Recognising this need gap, Prasanna & Jaspreet came together and started ‘Jalandhar Sports Store’. “It is our contribution to the sport. We hope no player misses a good opportunity because of monetary matters,” Jaspreet says. Their effort has made things easy for players and sports enthusiasts.
The story of these boys is remarkable in so many aspects — entrepreneurship, sportsmanship and life skills. It requires courage and undying spirit to make things work. It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. All that matters is where you are going. These champions prove that becoming a player is only the first step. It opens a world of infinite opportunities and prepares you to face them. It is your hard work and dedication that shape you.
No goal is impossible to strike once you understand the game and have a spirit to win. There are some people who live in a dream world, and there are some who face reality; And then there are those who turn one into the other. We hope to create and inspire many others of the third kind — the dreamers and the doers.