Soham is a 10-year-old from Dharavi, Mumbai who is part of a Child Sponsorship Program through the OSCAR Foundation. The program provides support for Soham's education, including tuition and school fees, as well as participating in OSCAR's football and life skills sessions. These sessions have helped Soham develop his confidence and communication skills, and have also improved his football abilities.
Soham's mother works as a daily wage earner in a jewellery factory and is the sole provider for her family after the loss of her husband. The sponsorship program has alleviated financial stress for Soham's mother and allowed her to focus on giving her children the best opportunities possible. She has noticed a positive change in Soham since he joined the program, as he has become more confident and active in both school and football activities.
The case study highlights the positive impact of child sponsorship programs for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. Through this program, these children receive educational and extracurricular opportunities that help them grow and develop into confident and talented individuals.
“I first started sponsoring an OSCAR child in 2015. I was supporting a 12 year old boy, who I met in person when he came to the UK with the first 'OSCAR UK School Tour 2017. I’d seen photos of him and Sunita, who runs the sponsorship programme, told me all about him and his family, but it was especially nice to meet him and to have the opportunity to watch him play football and play the drums in the morning assembly. He plays the drums in his community in Mumbai. He was astonishingly good! I continue to sponsor him and hear news of his progress.
I also sponsored an older girl who has done really well, making informed life choices and working hard to improve the life chances of her and her family. She became an OSCAR Young Leader, finished her education, enrolled in further education, and is now working for OSCAR and inspiring many young girls like her.
I have enjoyed hearing about her progress and am very proud to have been part of her incredible journey. She no longer needs sponsorship, so I now sponsor a younger girl, and am sure with my support she too will make a huge success in her life.
I really enjoy sponsoring OSCAR children, hearing about their progress and receiving heartwarming video messages. I also appreciate getting news of the programmes the charity is running for all the OSCAR beneficiaries. OSCAR does tremendous work and during the pandemic, they surpassed any expectation making sure families have enough food and all the vital support they needed. It is good to see life returning to normal, the kids are back in school and on the football pitch. The OSCAR community is going from strength to strength and I am happy and grateful to be playing my part. If you are thinking of child sponsorship, go ahead… it will not disappoint. ”Liz Lewthwaite
The relationship between a sponsored child and their sponsor is a special one. Two families from entirely different cultures, languages, and worlds are able to connect, encourage, and love each other. By sponsoring a child through the OSCAR Child Sponsorship programme, one is able to build a relationship with a child through the exchange of personalised video messages, letters, and pictures and sponsors become a part of the change of a child’s life.
Supriya (14) sponsored through a child sponsorship programme lives in Chembur with her parents and two siblings. Her father is a taxi driver and her mother is a homemaker. She studies in the 10th grade and her favourite subject is Maths. She aspires to be a teacher. Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, her father lost his job and it made her family life more difficult. They were not able to pay her school fees but with the support of her sponsor, OSCAR enabled her to continue her studies.
Supriya has been with OSCAR’s football programme for the last 5 years. While her parents are supportive, they would often be concerned about her safety and would not allow her to play outdoors. But, with OSCAR, they feel secure that she is playing under adult supervision in a safe environment. This enables Supriya to live her childhood, whilst keeping her parents reassured of her safety. Supriya enjoys studying and has always scored good grades. However, she would often get nervous and sometimes lacked confidence but football has brought about a positive change by enabling her to be more confident in herself and in turn being able to express herself more openly. It has improved her communication skills and given her a platform to display her talents. Now, she is mentoring younger children and shares her learnings with them. OSCAR life skills have helped her with her time management too.
Supriya credits OSCAR and her sponsor for giving her the freedom and confidence to express herself. She has learnt that girls deserve the same opportunities as boys and she can dare to dream and achieve whatever she wants in life.
OSCAR Child Sponsorship not only enables the sponsored child to complete their education, and have access to all the programmes, but it benefits the entire OSCAR community.
The Child Sponsorship Programme improves the well-being of our most vulnerable OSCAR children. Sponsored children gain a feeling of self-worth: knowing that someone wants to support them. It provides a child full access to all OSCAR programmes, digital learning, football and life skills sessions, scholarships for education, football boots and nutrition. Sponsorship supports the sponsored child and their community. Through this programme
Hear directly from two of our wonderful sponsors.
“I was invited to join the OSCAR Child Sponsorship programme in January 2019 and am thrilled to be part of such an incredibly worthwhile cause. I was lucky enough to visit Mumbai and see for myself the work of the OSCAR Foundation and it completely touched my heart. I was taken aback by the commitment, the results and the amazing work that takes place with the children on the programme.
I sponsor a young boy and am in touch with the foundation to learn about his progress – he is a similar age to my son. Not only has he matured, but his English has improved, he is doing well in his studies and his commitment to hard work has been driven by all those involved with OSCAR. I am desperate to return to Mumbai not only to see his progress but to also support the work of the OSCAR Foundation.
My sponsorship makes a real difference, and it works – he has opportunities that may not have been possible without my donations. It does not impact my personal financial situation greatly but does have a great impact on his life which is worth every penny.
I would encourage anyone to join the Child Sponsorship programme to enrich these children’s lives and give them opportunities they simply won’t have with their normal lives if it was not for the OSCAR Foundation.” Sara
OSCAR Foundation is grateful to all our GlobalGiving supporters and well-wishers for their contribution to the Child Sponsorship Programme. Through your support, we have been able to help 24 children from the community. The Child Sponsorship Programme is one of the successful programmes and our aim is to reach out to more children in the future with your generosity.
The Sponsor a Child Programme at OSCAR Foundation was started in 2017 with an aim to uplift children from marginalised communities and help them access their rights. With over 80 donors supporting 130 children this project has been one of the strongest pillars of our programme through the years.
Read on to know more about the journey of Pooja - from a sponsored child since teenage she has grown to be a successful independent Coach who is leading our gender programme in the community
“I can help you. I will get a job and help the family,” a 13 year old Pooja said to her father, a cook at the Indian Navy while her mother sobbed silently in front of the charred remains of what used to be their home. The Gautams, a family of five lost their home and all their belongings to a fire in 2013. Her father refused to take her up on her offer. “You will help the family by studying and succeeding in life,” he said.
After convincing her parents that she wouldn’t let football affect her academics, Pooja joined OSCAR’s football and life skills sessions with her sister. Pooja said, “There was always something to learn on the pitch. We may fall down after a tackle but we get up and continue to play. We may concede a few goals down but we always try our best to come back. Football is a lot like life.”
Pooja also enrolled herself into the education programme as she had a keen interest in computers. She got to learn a number of new things at the OSCAR digital centre and was especially touched at how kind and genuine her teachers were. “Throughout my journey, my coaches and teachers have been compassionate. They genuinely cared about us and wanted to help us,” she said.
Pooja soon enrolled into the Young Leader programme and started working with her own girls’ batch. “I am so happy that I can impart what I have learnt to the next generation. Being an OSCAR Young Leader gives us an amazing opportunity to give back to the community,” she said. However, her journey as a Young Leader has had its fair share of challenges. “I realised that despite our work and success, people are not very open-minded. They do expect girls to stay at home and do household chores. We have a long way to go as a society. When I was young, people used to mock me for wanting to play and these thoughts still remain in the minds of many. It is difficult for a girl to prosper in a slum community but we do our best to fight that oppression,” she said with a look of indignation.
Change may take time but Pooja is steering her community forward. She was selected to represent OSCAR at the FIFA Foundation festival at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. “It was a proud moment for my family. These visits are symbolic, perspectives change, people start to notice. After my visit, people were more open to sending their kids, especially girls for football and life skills sessions,” she said. Pooja is pursuing an arts degree and also holds a diploma in sport management. Pooja is currently working with OSCAR Foundation’s gender programme which aims to promote gender equity across all our programmes.
A note to Pooja from her Sponsor "It is good to hear all the things you have been doing. You have done so well completing your studies and now working for Oscar. I want you to know how proud I am to have been your sponsor for the last few years and to see what you have achieved. I hope things will go well for you in the future" - Liz
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