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Sportz Village Foundation: Giving every child an equal opportunity to succeed in life through ‘play’

Studies across the globe suggest that Sport and Physical Activity are fun, effective as well as engaging means to improve children’s overall well-being. This includes their physical and socio-emotional health, academic learning, and life skills that are essential for success in school, life, and work. Article 31 of the UN states playing is the right of every child. Still, approx. 100 million children in India are deprived of sports, especially the population living in poverty. For a developing young nation like ours, it is necessary to inculcate healthy and active lifestyle habits at a young age and across genders and classes, who in turn can contribute to nation-building. And for this, making ‘sports’ an integral part of a child’s education can be the steppingstone.

With the same belief and a vision to get more and more children to play, Sportz Village Foundation (SVF) was established in 2017 with the focus of helping underprivileged students in public schools through Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) collaborations. Sportz Village Foundation strongly underscores that Sport Education is a comprehensive as well as cost-effective ‘development’ and ‘change’ tool to drive transformation in children/youth, girl child and adolescents.

 

‘Sport For Change’ programs by Sportz Village Foundation utilise ‘sports education’ to empower underprivileged children and youth, aimed at improving their health, education, and access to opportunities. These programs are aligned to the UNSDGs (United Nations Sustainable Development Goals), which include gender equality, good health, and sustainable communities. Currently, the foundation works with over 1300 schools in 250 different places, widely impacting 7,00,000 kids. SVF also serves as a strategic partner and advisor for sports education for the boards of the NSDC, CII, NITI Aayog, and state governments.

 

(Theory of Change by Sportz Village Foundation)

Sportz Village Foundation collaborates with corporates as well as the Governments to implement structured Edu Sports curriculum in public schools. The curriculum is part of the umbrella ‘Sport for Change’ program that blends sports and physical exercise to promote positive outcomes in schools and has undergone extensive testing and has been carefully incorporated into the schools' basic educational procedures. The highly awarded ‘Sport for Change’ program has helped improve the educational outcomes of over lakh of children in more than 1300 public schools.

(‘Sports for Change’ program in a Govt. School)

Sportz Village Foundation also focuses on creating in-school and out-of-school platforms and resources to identify, train and nurture sports talent as part of Sports Development and Sports Excellence programs. It involves building a pathway for talented children to become elite athletes or sports persons through a tested framework of advanced coaching inputs and match/competition exposure. Select and interested students are given match exposure, and several performing students go on to represent at district, zonal, state and national level. For sustaining the program within the communities, it also plans to run capacity building programs to enable children/ youth to become sports trainers. 

 

A group of people playing volleyball

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(Student-athletes at a Sportz Village Foundation Sports Development Centre, supported by HCLF)

 

Sportz Village Foundation programs have been supported by organizations that believe in the power of sport in transforming communities, like HCL Foundation, Godrej Agrovet, Decathlon India, Bata India, Honda Cars, Muthoot Group, DXC Technologies, TVS Motors, Ashok Leyland, Quess Corp, etc. During the Covid-induced pandemic and school shutdowns, Sportz Village Foundation used a digital engagement model with the ‘Play at Home’ Leaderboard and offline Race Around India to address the lack of physical activity and continue to engage kids in the safety of their own homes.

(Girls engaged in a friendly Kabaddi match) 

Impact of ‘Sport For Change’ programs

Impact on Education, Health, and Empowerment

Our work in 390+ schools supported by Ashok Leyland has demonstrated a 10% increase in fitness levels, along with a positive impact on attendance levels and instances of deviant behavior after 18 months of the launch of the program.

Impact on Girl Empowerment

Our work in 150+ schools in partnership with Sports Authority of Gujarat showed a 23% increase in female participation in the afterschool programs 2 years after the launch of the program.

Impact on Employment / Livelihood

Our work in 300+ schools supported by National Skill Development Corporation across 8 states has resulted in over 80% of the candidates from the target communities, going either for higher education or getting employment as sports trainers.

Impact on Sporting Excellence 

Rukhsar is an 11th-grade student from GGIC Vikash Nagar in Lucknow. She comes from a family of six, which includes two sisters, two brothers, and her parents. Her father works in the private sector and earns a meagre monthly salary of Rs. 7000. Despite the rough financial situation which has limited many opportunities for her to gain competitive experience along with her father's opposition to her sporting ambitions, albeit her mother and siblings showing support, Rukhsar remains determined to participate in kabaddi tournaments and practice sessions whenever the opportunity arises. However, the launch of the Sports for Change initiative by HCLF, with the support of Sportz Village Foundation, has changed, giving her not only the opportunity to showcase her talent but also the opportunity to learn from and be guided by expert coaches and sports nutritionists. Rukhsar has not only grown as a top Kabaddi player, but she has also gained important life skills such as leadership qualities and sincerity towards her teammates and coaches. Rukhsar has been selected for the senior women's state and junior state level Kabaddi categories in the last four to five months. Aside from Kabaddi, she has also excelled in the triple jump, where she placed first at the district level. This opportunity to hone her skills, combined with her desire to be on the field and in tournaments on a regular basis, bodes extremely well for her future goal of representing the country.

(Rukhsar: Beneficiary of SVF program supported by HCLF)

 

Deepanshu Nimesh, is currently pursuing his inter from Gautam Buddha Balak Inter College in Noida. Deepanshu’s family is involved in farming activities, and he also helps with farming whenever he gets the chance or the time to support. Deepanshu began his sports journey by playing football in his school. However, following the athletics trials held by HCL Foundation, he soon found an interest in athletics and continues to give his best efforts in training imparted under the Sportz Village Foundation High-Performance Learning Centre supported by HCL Foundation. At the Guru Govind Singh Sports College's Winter Sports Camp, he also took home a silver medal for the 400-meter race (Lucknow). His ambition is to join the Indian Army service, which is the main driving force for his commitment to sports.

(Deepanshu Nimesh – Beneficiary of SVF Sports Excellence Program)

And there are many more such stories of transformation…

Impact on the overall development of the child - Excerpts from Annual Health Survey by Sportz Village Foundation

Sportz Village Foundation conducts an Annual Health Survey to understand the state of health of Indian children from public schools. The survey shows improvement in the health and general social-emotional skills of students since launching structured sports programmes in public schools with funding from various state governments and CSR contributors. The success of the program was measured as:

  • 95% of children showed improvement in their fitness levels
  • 78% of children developed the emotional capability to face challenges
  • 77% of children developed a disciplined lifestyle
  • 92% of children have shown improvement in their communication abilities
  • Impact on Social-Emotional Learnings (SEL) 

    Our study to measure the extent to which sport has had an influence on promoting women’s empowerment through the Socio-Emotional Learnings SEL test demonstrated a far clearer and steady growth in each of the five SEL parameters despite there being interruptions to organized sports sessions caused by the pandemic. 

    Chart, bar chart

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    (Sportz Village Foundation Impact Study on a cluster of Govt Schools in Lucknow)

    The long-term goals of the ‘Sport for Change’ program by Sportz Village Foundation include acquainting the school staff with knowledge and capacities so they can manage these sports activities on their own with assistance on instruction, sports equipment, and curricular structures. The program is being developed to be extended to young people, with the emphasis on imparting skills to promote employment, apart from the elementary and middle school age groups it now targets. Some community development programs for this age group will also be launched to address various social issues such as gender inequality.

    Author

    Smita Singh

    Smita currently finished her Masters in Economics Major. Being an introvert personality, writing suits best to her. She has vivid experience in the content area from writing research papers to writing content for various websites, blogs & stories. Smita has worked for a Patna based digital marketing company named DigiwaleBabu.