Selvi, while very interested in studies and sports dropped out of school due to lack of infrastructure facilities and abuse by teachers. She was introduced to soccer warm ups that were already in place at the project.
The project team, having understood the issues she faced in school, engaged with the school Principal and teachers and motivated her to get enrolled back into school. With constant followup and motivation she excelled both in studies and in soccer.
Selvi represented her team in various soccer matches, has scored very well in her 12th board exams and enrolled in B.Com.
Selvi has cleared the IAS (Indian Administrative Services) prelim exams and is preparing for her mains. she also supports other children in her community by coaching them in studies especially for 10th and 12th exams.
Fifteen year old Bheemabhai was a regular visitor at the ground where SCSTEDS trained children in football. She used to watch from a distance with yearning in her eyes; but she kept a distance when she was invited to join. A community worker from SCSTEDS noticed her one day and walked towards her. She wore a school uniform – a shabby one with a tear. He knew by experience that she did not go to school. She was a dropout; a recent one. He asked her if she wanted to play. She shook her head. He called one of the playing girls, about her age, to come over. Bheemabai smiled recognizing the familiar face. It was her classmate in Std.X at MB Devadoss Aided High School where she used to study.
“Do you know her?”, the community worker asked the girl.
He learnt from her that Bheemabhai had dropped out of school just a few months ago, because of discrimination. She was a dalit and her father worked as a security guard. Her elder brother was chronically ill and her second brother worked as a laborer to meet ends. Besides, she had a sister who was looking for work. There were too many mouths to feed at home; and the mid-day meal at school was her primary source of nutrition. With that gone, she was now hungry like the rest of her family; and like most of other children who lived in the slums of Vyasarpadi.
The community worker knew her plight, for many of the children trained by SCSTEDS, had shared the same. Over last 9 years, SCSTEDS has trained over 1500 children with the support of CRY. Football is used as a medium to instill confidence in children to break out of child labour and coax them to go to school. The project has changed the lives of 1964 children in 2014 alone.
Bheemabai joined game.
The SCSTEDS team motivated her come day after day and then regularly. Meanwhile the team met with the school Headmaster and sorted out the issue of discrimination in class. They motivated her to reenroll in school with an assurance from the headmaster that she would never again be discriminated. This in-fact helped many other children who were on the brink of dropping out. Bheemabai was given special coaching in studies at the Children’s Centre. She trained well, both at school and on the ground. Her skill earned her a place in the Tamil Nadu state team represented at the junior interstate tournament. Thereafter Bheemabhai admission in St. Joseph’s Government Aided Higher Secondary School through sports quota.
Today Bheemabai is an inspiration to the children in the slum, particularly those training with SCSTEDS. And not just an inspiration, she helps other children in studies at the Child Centre.
Name of Child: Udaya Kumar ( Name changed to protect the Identity of the child)
Place: SM Nagar, Vyasarpadi, Chennai
‘Football can change the character of a person’says Master Thangaraj, Mentor & Coach SCSTEDS football team.
A perfect case in point is Udaya Kumar, a star football player from the slums of Vyasarpadi in Chennai. Udaya Kumar was one of the 5 children, his single mother struggled to raise. Poverty ridden, she worked hard to make ends meet.
Frustrated by his circumstances Udaya began hanging out on the streets with his friends till late night. He quit school when he was12. In a desperate bid to escape from reality he turned to substance abuse and alcohol.
The Change: The situation would probably have gone from bad to worse, had it not been for the timely intervention of the SCSTEDS team. Having realized that sports goes a long way in the development of children, the SCSTEDS team encouraged Udaya to be a part of their football team. After he joined them, he was gradually and gently encouraged to join school. Slowly but steadily he began to show interest in his studies. He also started focussing on his practice sessions and made his way towards the under 18 Tamil Nadu state team! He further went on to represent India in the Homeless Soccer World Cup held at Sweden in 2011.
He continued his studies and pursued his bachelor’s degree in Visual Communications. Today a hero for the other youngsters at Vyasarpadi, Udaya Kumar is a perfect example that shows the power of sports in moulding a child’s life.
Udaya Kumar's Life Today: Udaya Kumar has recently cleared his service commission exams for the Tamil Nadu Police selection. He is the first youth in the entire slums of Vyasarpadi to get into a Permanent Government job.
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.
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:
Impact in Jan 2013 –Dec 2013:
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