Although the importance of mainstream education taught in a classroom is unparalleled but practicalists would say that few skills can only be learnt outside the walls. The potential of sport as a tool to reach personal, group, domestic and international objectives is immense.
Sports will divide you in teams but unite you with a common motive of victory, sports will teach you to be aggressive but also accept the circumstances and result with dignity, it will make you work hard for what you want, make strategies, help each other and work as a team, be the leader when required, shell out the enthusiasm and most importantly give 100% to what you do (and many more attributes).
Mr. Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore, Hon. Sports Minister, recently quoted, “Sports is not a part of education, it is education.” Do we need to say more?
TheSportsKartail, under HKL Sports Foundation initiated in 2018, recognizes sports as a development tool to help the children at high-risk stage come back to normal life. The marginal section of our society is fighting different battles each day – poverty, illiteracy , drug abuse, domestic violence, exposure to crime, mental health problems, diseases and one of the biggest that we see – the better gender is not allowed to grow. Sports is not an immediate solution to any of these problems but sure plays the role of a catalyst solving all of these. Its role is slow but deep and everlasting.
Sports for Development is a concept which goes long back to 1920s when the International Labour Organization signed papers with Olympic Committee for mental well-being through benefits of sports, but picked up in last leg of 20th century when sports played a magical role in impacting lives of war/refugee families in a project run in the United States. The concept has been a hit in the west ever since but has just started to play an impactful role in the Indian system since the past few years. Even though it is still not the ‘go to option’ for corporates and government, the future looks better.
TheSportsKartail started six months back in a remote village in Sonepat district, Haryana, with about 5 kids in their early teens. The team, under the leadership of Mr. Devang Sharma, started with football and gradually reached 50 kids in a month approximately. The trend was very obvious with boys of same age group with common surnames getting enrolled in the program and the team knew they had few challenges like age, religious and gender barriers that needed to be addressed first.
Within 4 and a half months of (fairly successful) operations, the team has observed that sports was already doing its magic. The initiative has over 230 kids enrolled with a 35:65 girls to boys ratio. The initiative boasts of participation from 5-year-old kids to kids who were done with their schooling. The initiative has participation from every religion and community that reside in the area. The blend of sports with basics of education is working.
The curriculum for the initiative has been designed in a way that importance of education in children’s life is never ignored and sports is used as an accelerator to achieve the ultimate goal. The programme focuses on five major components:
1. General awareness
2. Personality development
3. Language Skills
4. Basic logical reasoning techniques, and
5. Happiness quotient along with the ocean of life skills sports is already teaching them.
The initiative motivates children to excel in academics as well and maintain 60% marks in their regular school evaluations to continue to be a part of our program and we constantly stay in touch with schools, parents, gram panchayats, local influential personalities and other stakeholders to have a 360 degree impact on every child’s life. The team believes that fooling children with tempting activities is fine as long as it’s done for their good with pure intentions. In order to keep them motivated, we spice up the fun with movies sessions, outings and entertainment.
With two active projects – Sonepat in Haryana and Jaipur in Rajasthan , TheSportsKartail is already impacting over 400 lives directly and over 2000 indirectly within 6 months of its inception. The programme at Jaipur is supported by AU Small Finance Bank and sources of funding for Sonepat remain private donors and self sponsorship.
“The Dream is to Sportify each and every village of India. Give each and every child that hope, that dream. Tell them that ‘If you are willing to fight, life will be an oyster.’ The world will be at your feet one day,” says chief promoter of TheSportsKartail, Devang Sharma.
TheSportsKartail team is looking to start operations in Delhi soon and would like to urge everybody who is reading this to come together and join the revolution. Let’s sportify the real India and make it one of the best sports nation in the world.