The FIFA World Cup fever has gripped the world, and every football fan worth their salt is watching the matches religiously. But, did you know that football can also be used to make a positive impact?
It can help pursue developmental goals like education, promotion of good health, peace-building, social integration and youth leadership. And, exhibit football passion, cultural diversity and the principle of fair play. Such is the goal of the FIFA Foundation Festival.
And four kids from Bengaluru will be attending it, thanks to Dream a Dream, a Bengaluru-based initiative.
Dream a Dream has been involved with thousands of youngsters aged 8-15 years for the last 18 years. The initiative uses football as a medium to impart and develop critical life skills among these kids. The project is part of their After School Skills Development Programme and focuses on supplementing regular academic schooling activities with sports, creative arts and outdoor experiential camps.
Around two lakh young people have been impacted by the initiative, thanks to their programmes like the After School Life Skills Programme, the Teacher Development Programme, and the Career Connect Project.
The four promising young footballers from Bengaluru are Amreen Taj, Sandeep Akash, Vishnu R and Manasa Yadav. The kids study in low-cost private and government schools and will be part of the 48 delegations from across the globe to attend this festival.
The festival itself will be held in Moscow and will bring representatives from 38 nations to the FIFA World Cup to exchange, learn and play football. The event will run from 23rd June to 3rd July 2018, with a football tournament and awards ceremony taking place, on 30th June, in Moscow’s iconic Red Square.
Via the festival, the kids will hopefully broaden their knowledge of values and life skills, both social and practical. The festival will include games, cultural presentations, capacity-building workshops, and sessions on social development through football.
Dream a Dream held a rigorous screening process to find four promising kids. The selected candidates will be accompanied by Anita R, the young leader for the delegation who will focus the team’s energies on preparing for the festival.
She is optimistic, and speaks of the excited children who are eager to attend the festival in Russia. She explains that the kids haven’t travelled to Russia before, and will experience many different cultures, and interact with communities from the world over. The delegation leader rounds off by saying that they hope to bring back all the valuable learning, and use it to give back to the communities here at home.
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Kudos to Dream a Dream, for empowering young people from disadvantaged backgrounds to overcome adversities and helping them thrive in an ever-changing world, using a creative life-skills approach. Here’s hoping that the children have the best of learning and fun with the Beautiful Game!
(Edited by Shruti Singhal)