Sports, apart from being just a medium of fun, also impart life skills that come in handy throughout the journey of life. It’s a way of bringing everyone together towards a common goal. To respect this level of union, we have started Life Skills Empowerment project for boys using sports as a channel to bring about a unanimous approach towards comrade and loyalty.
This project was done in collaboration with OSCAR (Organisation for Social Change, Awareness & Responsibility) Foundation and their team. The core idea behind introducing this project is to empower adolescent boys through sports. To begin with, Field Coordinator (FC) Mr. Pravin Bhirhade mobilized the boys and gave them an orientation on Future Smiles and LSE projects and of course, Mumbai Smiles on the whole. The FC also conducted home visits to beneficiaries’ house who didn’t respond to the calls for joining this session, convincing them to participate in a day filled with fun activities for them. Eventually 50 LSE boys participated.
The most important aspect of indulging these boys in sports is for them to learn ways of life while on the field. Sports teaches us how to be a good team member, to respect rules and boundaries, to have an eye towards the goal but at the same time making sure that no one is harmed in order to reach that goal. After giving them these ground rules of not pushing anybody, taking care of themselves and their team members; the games had begun.
The OSCAR Foundation divided the boys into three teams and off they were. They started off with an interactive and a lively warm up session followed by an induction on the games. The boys played dodgeball, football and handball. This is because we’ve noticed that these boys have played sports like Kabbadi, Kho Kho and Cricket but football et al, not so much. During the breaks the Field Coordinator made sure to check on each and every boy for if they were facing any challenges or troubles. A first aid kid is always kept in handy by the Mumbai Smiles team for in case of any injury on the field, which is sure, the fun of all the sports, but safety is also crucial.
After the games came to an end, a review was conducted to get a feedback from the boys. One of them said, “This was our first experience in playing football and it was awesome. We want to continue under LSE project and play these sports that were so new and exhilarating”. One thing we’d like to add is that none of these activities could have been possible without the incredible support of the Animators, the community members and most importantly the parents of our beneficiaries.