Project KHEL

Focus: Education, Children and Youth

THE term ‘child’s play’ does a disservice to the serious role of fun and games in educating young people – especially underprivileged children deprived of play in their daily lives. And Project KHEL know this.

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.

Help Project KHEL change lives

Thank you! You can rest assured your contribution will be used to make a real difference

please wait...
Ab Bas!

EVERY second child in India is sexually abused according to a World Health Organisation report – with 60 per cent of predators being known individuals. Ab Bas!, which literally means ‘now, enough’ was launched to raise awareness of the topic – one that affects children of all age groups, genders and social backgrounds. Workshops for children – free for children from lower income backgrounds – include subjects like good, bad, and accidental touch and many involve parents and teachers.

Made in Maidaan

THIS is Project KHEL’s flagship programme and the core of what they do. Designed to impart life skills education through sports to disadvantaged youth aged 9-18 years, sessions are conducted by trained volunteers on a bi-weekly basis at various locations around Lucknow. Engaging with adolescents through play – particularly those at risk of becoming delinquents – sees a marked rise in school attendance and academic scores, and a decrease in drop-out rates.

Red Spot

AIMED primarily at adolescent girls but also includes boys, this initiative counters taboos and myths surrounding menstruation, with 70% of mothers believing menstrual blood is dirty and impure. Through activity-based workshops on understanding menstruation as a clean and natural biological process, young women are encouraged to break the awkward silence on the subject and participate in discussions on problems they face and self-worth issues.

About Project KHEL

The very fact that you make girls and boys play together and are so normal about this interaction has had a huge impact. I have never seen my adolescent female students so comfortable with their bodies.

Swati Dubey, Principal, Justice Triveni Sahai Shiksha Niketan, Lucknow

My experience with Project KHEL has been exceptional. Despite having busy schedules the members and volunteers never fail to turn up. Their sense of dedication comes from their fundamental belief of mutual respect for one another.

Sera Kazmi, volunteer, Lucknow

I came across Project KHEL while searching for a place where I could play and help underprivileged children. But as I started getting more and more involved, I realised the tremendous impact sports or any joyful activity had on children’s lives.

Dildeep, donor and volunteer, Lucknow

  • Akshai Abraham Founder-Director
  • Angana Prasad Executive Director
  • Pramod Yadav Programme Facilitator
  • Medha Mukherji Programme Facilitator
  • Shiviksha Kaushik Programme Facilitator
  • Shraddha Shukla Programme Facilitator
  • Stephen Charles Programme Facilitator
  • Varsha Ashok Programme Facilitator
  • Vikram Namdeo Programme Facilitator