Education & Health via Sports to Indian Slum Kids

Aug 8, 2014

A Child Rights Advocate

Name of the Child: Ambika (Name changed to protect the identity of the child)

Place of Residence: SM Nagar, Vyasarpadi, Chennai

Ambika (13 yrs) was made to discontinue her education from 7th standard, in the year 2011, from the Kalyanpuram Corporation High School by her parents so that she could help the family cope up with the soaring economy.

Ambika is the eldest of four children. Her mother is a domestic worker and her father is a labourer and a person depending on Alcohol. He hardly gives money to the family and least bothers about the members of the family. It is Ambika’s mother who takes care of the whole family. She works in 3-4 households’ right from early morning till dusk. When she comes home it is usually 8.PM and brings food to the family. All the four children wait in hunger till the mother comes home with food. During the day, it is the mid day meal which feeds the children. The father comes home late night and quarrels with her mother. Sometimes the father also beats up her mother and it is Ambika who pacifies and consoles her bleeding mom. One day her mother explained the family’s economic situation and requested her to quit her school to take up a job in a household as domestic worker. Running errands for the house-hold became her duty for the next six months.

Ambika was born and brought up in the slum of SM nagar, Vyasarpadi. The outskirts of SM Nagar are known for dumping garbage. Moreover, the drinking water provided by the corporation is always a mix of sewage water and the water is all the time black in colour. As a result SM nagar is a hub of communicable diseases. During rainy season, the roads of SM nagar are drenched with garbage and sewage water. Mosquitoes and flies raid all the households. Most of the children in this locality all the time have some physical ailments and visit the hospital for medical treatments. The health centre in SM nagar is most of the time dysfunctional and requires constant advocacy and lobbying with the corporation health officils. It is during one rainy season Ambika attended the children collective meeting of SCSTEDS with her friend and was astonished to hear her friend talk about the problem of mixture of sewage water in the drinking water. Till that day, Ambika was thinking that being poor and a slum dweller it was their fate to drink that water. The members of the collective discussed in detail about the ill-effects and ways in which it could be rectified. Finally, the group also decided to draft a petition for submission to the Local Ward Councilor demanding for quality and safe drinking water. Ambika was very impressed with the group activities. She expressed her wish of continuing her education and joining the group. The group cohesion and the member’s interest towards asserting their rights influenced Ambika to a greater extent. Ambika also understood that education plays a significant role in shaping the group member’s personality. So she voluntarily spoke with SCSTEDS staff on helping her continue her education.

The very next day, SCSTEDS staff visited Ambika’s home and spoke with her parents. Her parents were very stubborn in not sending Ambika to the school. Regular counseling by Community workers and project staff was enabled and after 4 months of continuous intervention, Ambika’s parents were convinced. The academic year 2012 was really a dream come true year for her. She has been admitted in class 8 in the Erikarai Government High School. She now desires to complete her school education and pursue her higher studies in Law. Becoming an advocate is Ambika’s ambition in life.

May 8, 2014

Initiatives & Impact of SCSTEDS during 2013-14

Various initiatives have been undertaken in the project area during the year 2013-14. Please find below a few initiatives and impact the project made to children in the operational area.

Initiatives undertaken in 2013:

  • Petitions submitted to the health department of Chennai Corporation for activating urban health center in SM Nagar and extending the hours of operation to 24 hours.
  • Shared the consolidated data, that was collected in 2012 on malnutrition of slum children, with parents, government officials in order to highlight the requirement for improved services in ICDs.
  • Conducted close monitoring of ICDs centers, staffs and status of malnourished children enrolled in ICDs center.
  • Organized enrollment campaign for re-enrollment of drop-out and children involved in child labour. Conducted anti child Labour day campaign at all the slums and discussed preventive strategy of accessing school to address the issue of child labor.
  • Worked with cadres to address the issue of potential drop out children and forced child marriage.
  • Leadership Camp for the leaders of the 12 Children’s Collective.
  • Developed understanding of the reasons that lead to child marriage in the community and sensitized the community of ill effect of child marriage.

 Impact in Jan 2013 –Dec 2013:

  • 4 new ICDs centers sanctioned and 2 new centers opened.
  • 50 children enrolled at 2 newly opened centers.
  • Achieved sanctioning of toilet for every individual household.
  • Facilitated media coverage on the issues related to child labour in the six working slums of Vyasarpadi by New Indian Express-City express on Anti-Child Labour day (13th June, 2013). The media advocacy resulted in immediate interventions. The Chennai City Corporation Commissioner convened a meeting and the corporation officials have been rolled out a study on the Child Labor scenario in the slums of Vyasarpadi.
  • 28 children identified as child labours and 21 of them reenrolled into schools.
  • A special sports meet was conducted for all the Children of SCSTEDS. Tamilnadu Slum Clearance Board was roped in for conducting the event, with 430 chidren participants.
Dec 11, 2013

GOAL called LIFE


In 2009, Raj joined the children collective’s of SCSTEDS. Since then, his life has changed dramatically.

It was in October 2008 he took refuge under his maternal aunty residing in Vyasarpadi as both his parents lost their dear lives in an accident. Raj was suddenly affected psychologically and was finding difficult to cope up with the new neighbourhood where every day life was a challenge. It was during this scenario that Mr. Thangaraj of SCSTEDS intervened. He admitted Raj in the neighbouring school and familiarised Raj with the SCSTEDS’ children collectives.

Shortly after joining the Children Collectives, Raj was referred to join the football team of SCSTEDS. Being part of a team, Raj developed employable skills, like showing up on time, working well with others and self-confidence. He stayed connected with his team mates and mentor, Mr. Thangaraj who helped him balance his school education and Soccer practice sessions. Raj participated actively in the children collective activities. His constant involvement and dedication for soccer made him an important forward player in the under 14 STEDS team.  After participating in more than 30 games representing STEDS, Raj was directly selected for the Tamilnadu State under 14 team. Last week he travelled all the way to Mumbai to participate in a soccer match representing Tamilnadu state. This young aspirer tells, “I am happy that I could represent Tamilnadu now. One day will come and I will make into the Indian Football team. This achievement is because of SCSTEDS. Master Thangaraj identified my potentials and guided me throughout. I will equally concentrate on my studies and make STEDS proud”

Young Raj has discovered his love for soccer. He now is one role model for all the children in the slums of Vyasarpadi. He continues to motivate and encourage young children to concentrate on schoolings as well sports.

Raj is presently studying in class 9 at the Corporation Higher Secondary School located at B Kalyanapuram, Vyasarpadi.

Aug 26, 2013

Packing Soap to Packing School Bag

Diya (Name changed to protect identity) (14 yrs) was working with a detergent manufacturing factory before she was identified as a drop out from school in the year 2011. Diya was forced to take up the job, to economically support her family, when her father was diagnosed for Tuberculosis. In the factory, she was engaged in the packing section. She has to wrap the soaps in the wrapper and for a day she used to wrap hundreds of soap. She was paid a sum of Rs. 1500 for the work she performed.

One of Diya’s friends is an active member of the SCSTEDS-Children collective. During one of the meeting
that particular friend revealed Diya’s state and requested the group to take immediate action. SCSTEDS’s representative spoke to Kanmani and understood her interest towards education. Her parents were counselled about the ill-effects of child labour and the importance of education. Her parents agreed to send Diya to school. Now Diya is re-enrolled in class 8 and continuing her education with pride.

Status of Children:

More than 650 children play soccer and 95 children are into SCSTEDS foot ball team under various categories ranging from sub-junior, junior, senior & super senior. Around 142 children play chess and 253 children are carom players. They also play in  and district level teams. 75 children are into the scouts & guides team of SCSTEDS.

Last year, more than 200 children in the intervention slums were engaged into the summer camp activities. Foot ball coaching, basic computer education, chess, carom and social education through songs was imparted to the young minds. This summer camp exclusively aimed to develop their physical strength and mental development.  All the above children actively,participated in the Football, chess and carom competition.

Apr 8, 2013

Impact Report of SCSTEDS for 12-13


Slum Children Sports Talents Education Development Society, TN – works with the issues of marginalized slum children and their parents and seeks to bring the community together by using sports and games amongst children; with the aim to promote social and collective responsibility



Name of the Organisation: Slum Children Sports Talents Education Development Society


Project details


1. Geographical area


  • 6 slums in Chennai, impacting 1817 children


2. The Situation


The urban slums are characterized by lack of basic services like water, sanitation, health, education etc. and see an alarming increase of issues such as child labor, delinquency, abuse, exploitation, running away, broken homes, illiteracy, alcoholism, drugs, illicit liquor, prostitution etc. 98% of the population living in these 6 slums work in unorganized sector as daily labor. More than 8000 people living without proper housing. 78% of the families earn about Rs.2000 a month and suffer from not being able to meet their ends. The huge debt burden on the 45% families push them and make them more vulnerable, children from these families enter in to work force to  pay the monthly interest to money lenders. Children who have to be in the school are pushed to work to support their families.


Almost 40% of children don’t attend school in the age group of 14 to 18, while 25% children in the age group of 6-14 are not in schools. Children are employed in various manual and unorganized sectors like steel vessel polishing, fish cleaning, loading and unloading, automobile workshops, plastic companies, construction, hotels, sweet and tea shops, textile shops, phone booths and other menial jobs. These children experience high levels of exploitation at work and are very under-paid for it. Their earnings are around Rs.200 per week and play an important role in supporting the daily needs of their families. Orphan or semi-orphan children, children from broken and destitute families are most prone to labor at an early childhood stage. Almost 35 to 40% of marriages in the area are child marriages. Social & work exploitations force parents to get their daughters married at the earliest, between the ages of 16 & 19. Poor incomes of the adults also push the children to exploitative and cheap labor system. 


This keeps the children away from schools. However, non existence of Government schools; long travels to the existent schools; poor quality of education & lack of basic infrastructures like libraries, play grounds, toilets, drinking water at the these schools; inadequate support from the teachers to motivate children to learn; failure in making school an attractive place to learn are also some of the immediate causes for children to discontinue schooling, apart from the prevalent conditions of the family.


Malnutrition is very rampant in the operation area almost. In the operational area, there are only nine Anganwadi centres and more than 37% children are not accessing ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme) services. Most of the Anganwadi centres lack basic infrastructure facilities. The Urban Health centre just provides first aid health services. The residents of the locality will have to travel around 2 to 5 km to access primary health needs.


3. Key initiatives undertaken


  • Sensitizing communities on rights issues
  • Advocacy campaign for housing facilities
  • Initiated discussions with school teachers and headmasters
  • Monitored facilities at schools
  • Formed children collectives to sensitize children on issues like child marriages, child labor, etc







4. Impact


The impact of SCSTEDS in the year 2012-13 is as follows:


  • 10 non-schools attending children, due to poor economic conditions of the family, enrolled in schools.
  • The project was able to bring down the instances of child marriages by working with both with the children and their parents. No reported cases of child marriages in the year.
  • In the year 2012-13, the number of malnourished children was reduced to 152 from 277 (age group 3-5 yrs).
  • 50% of the reference community members are able to access Government Health Services as compared to 25% last year.


For SCSTEDS, the most importance impact is to have trained more than 1045 children on various sports like football, chess and caroms and to get them acquainted with various life skills. Every child in Vyasarpadi is influenced and is part of this process of inner and community transformation of challenging the status quo by using football as an effective means. The SCSTEDS team is the only one to have a signed MOU with the sports development authority of Tamil Nadu, and had an opportunity to play with a European team in Sweden. Many of the SCSTEDS team members have been a part of national and international teams and played at events like the International sub junior football match at Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh.  The children also made into the junior level national player list, Indian homeless team and represented India in France. The children also represented Tamil Nadu state in the State level football tournament and SCSTEDS football team also participated in the Chennai Champion Trophy apart from league matches with teams from Indian Airlines and Bharat Petroleum.


It is to be noted that some of the players who were a part of the Sweden Youth World cup were barely 15 when they represented India. There are many others like them who, if provided with the right opportunity would be able to showcase their potential to the world and be instrumental in bring about a social transformation.



This year the SCSTEDS team participated in the City Spaces Campaign-Soccer for Change initiative. This campaign sponsored the SCSTEDS team; about 80 children and 2 referees’ participated. ‘Soccer for Change” was a joint initiative of ActionAid, Child Rights and You (CRY) and SC STEDS (Slum Children Sports Talent and Education Development Society) that was held on 23rd December 2012 to highlight the issues that children of the urban deprived communities face. This was a one-day tournament between 8 renowned soccer teams consisting of children from our Partner SCSTEDS. These children are using Soccer as a medium to assert for their rights to lead a quality life in the cities with access to all basic amenities including adequate houses with security to land tenure; access to quality education; better nutrition, health care and sanitation facilities.


Over the years, with help from the project staff, several groups have been formed within the community to create sensitivity about a variety of issues. The adolescent girl groups have proved to be very strong in this respect taking up issues like child marriage and domestic violence whole is responding to the interactions with the project team as can be seen from the success stories that are now trickling in.




The annual budget for CWS is Rs.11,21,760/-

(Eleven Lakhs Twenty One Thousand Seven Hundred and Sixty Rupees only)

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Project Leader

Chaitra Krishna

Bangalore, Karnataka India

Where is this project located?

Map of Education & Health via Sports to Indian Slum Kids