Help transform kids through sports
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About the NGO
So they have taken learning beyond the classroom for minors living in shelter homes, slums and urban ghettos in and around Lucknow, and placed it in activity-based environments to encourage engagement.
Lessons use play to teach skills that help navigate life’s challenges – and there are many for youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Project KHEL alumnus Deepak Rajbhar, for instance, was a regular at sessions when he suddenly stopped attending. The facilitators noticed his long absence and visited his home in a shanty in the heart of Lucknow to find out the reason.
They discovered Deepak had dropped out of school too and was working in a photo studio to supplement his family’s meagre income as his father had fallen ill. Project KHEL intervened, counselled him and his parents about the folly of discontinuing his education and Deepak was persuaded to return.
Now the 17-year-old, who is doing well in his studies and is keen on sports, says: “I love coming to Project KHEL sessions and have completely stopped abusing and fighting. In fact, I am even able to stop others from getting into fights.”
In a country where bookish classroom teaching dominates, KHEL’s model is a mix of ‘play for development’ and ‘life skills education’ – a programme they impart by partnering with organisations whose beneficiaries are their target group.
They also ensure that children enrol in the bi-weekly sessions for at least a period of one year so they get the full benefit of the planned lessons. Each session ends with a short discussion to allow the children to express themselves about what they have learned that day.
This helps them develop critical thinking and problem solving skills, builds their sense of self worth and teaches them to interact with others positively – especially with the opposite sex.
As founder Akshai Abraham says: “There is something empowering about a girl kicking a ball … When we put them on a field, let them play with boys, we see magic happening. It promotes a play culture where boys learn to interact with the other gender, talk with respect … this can end rape culture.”
With such a significant end impact, support KHEL’s plans to expand their operations across Uttar Pradesh, India’s most populated state.