Driven by the belief of every child’s right to happy childhood, Child Rights and You (South) is using sports as a medium of transformation. Though ideally a fundamental part of every child’s life, not every one of them is lucky to experience the same. Understanding the importance and the relevance of play, CRY has been actively engaging children to sports as a tool to fight critical child rights issues.
CRY has been championing the cause of children for the last four decades. In the last few years sport has been one of the most successful forms of intervention. From football to badminton along with martial arts, kho-kho and kabaddi these games have been a showpiece for change. Introduction of sports not only keeps them engaged but also defines their personality. It ensures greater number of children going to school which further results in keeping them away from the negative issues of ‘child labour’ and ‘child marriage’.
An effective ploy has been the introduction of children collectives, which is essentially the coming together of children for children. This peer to peer support system helps children navigate through difficult times. CRY has activated over 50 children collectives- both adolescent and children in Karnataka. This initiative covers around 1000 children. From organizing sporting events, to providing them with play materials and encouraging young talents to pursue sports further, this has been one of the most effective ways to mitigate and negate child rights issues.
One such story of hope lies in the lanes and by-lanes of Vysarpadi-the second largest slum in India. Once an area that hardly saw any children go to school, compounded by recurrent lawlessness, used sports as an intervention and today have almost 99 percent enrollment.
CRY is conducting a football tournament - ‘Shankara Buildpro Soccer for Child Rights’ which will provide a platform that creates leaders out of children. “Every year I look forward to participate in the event. Soccer has been a major motivation factor for me to continue education and when we play alongside other teams, it reinforces that belief. It feels great when younger peers from my society look up to me and want to model their life accordingly. This makes me feel responsible not only to excel in the sports, but also to perform in studies for a better future,” said Umashankar one of the players from Vyasarpadi.
“It was a conscious decision to ensure that sports become an integral part of life for the children in our intervention areas. When we had the opportunity with Soccer for Child Rights, we embraced it and over the years have seen a very heartening change. The children who played in the tournament came from our project in Vysarpadi. We have seen the metamorphosis of Vysarpadi from being one of the most notorious slums in Chennai to one which allows children to dream about both soccer and education,” said Suma Ravi, Regional Director (South), CRY
Today, there is a conscious and proactive outreach where CRY South is increasingly choosing sporting events to bridge the gap and spread awareness on some critical child rights issues. To give an example, in one of CRY’s project in Andhra Pradesh - People’s Organisation for Rural Development (PORD) almost 237 children (Boys: 146, Girls: 91) have been identified with sports talent who have pursued it in higher levels.
CRY has seen inspiring changes in children through exposure to sports. It’s like a precious gift that is nurtured and grown. It not only instills optimism but shows the way forward to make a long lasting difference to their life.Published 26 Jul 2019, 12:47 IST