Employing sports to secure child rights

Employing sports to secure child rights

Employing sports to secure child rights
At the second edition of the ‘Soccer for Child Rights’ tournament organised by the NGO Child Rights and You (CRY), along with SC STEDS (Slum Children Sports Talent Education Development Society), corporate bigwigs swapped their business suits for football jerseys. 

The team from Northern Trust won the tournament which saw the participation of 23 men’s teams and two women’s teams from companies such as Bosch, Flipkart, Microland, Redbus, Synopsys and Oracle. Two teams took part from SC STEDS, which is an organisation based in the slum communities of Vyasarpadi in Chennai. Second place was won by Oracle.

Suma Ravi, regional director (South) for CRY, said the tournament intends to provide a platform for children of slum communities to interact with corporates. “The children get to know about a world which they are not exposed to otherwise. The event also creates awareness among corporates about child rights and many even join as volunteers,” she said.

SC STEDS, the brainchild of Master Thangaraj and his brother Umapathi, started in 1997 as an attempt to improve literacy among children in the slums of Vyasarpadi. “I grew up in a slum myself and there is a lot of violence around. Hardly any children used to go to school. We used football to draw children in, boost their confidence and thereby uplift the community,” Thangaraj said.

One of the students, Beema Bai, used to see children play football, every day on her way back from school. "I was very eager to join them, but my parents didn't let me because I would have to wear shorts. I fought with them and after three months, they finally let me go," Bai said. Bai had dropped out of school after Class VIII, but when Master Thangaraj intervened, she went back. The 19-year-old is now in the second year of Bachelor of Science. “I want to get a good job and just as Master Thangaraj helped us, I want to help other girls in my community achieve their dreams,” she said.

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