On a humid sunny morning of 28th August 2017, the kids of our NGO marched enthusiastically to ‘Bend it like Beckham’ on the football field. Conducted at the sports complex of Ansal University, the five-on-a-side soccer tournament involved the participation of 8-12 year old children with teams from 16 leading NGOs within Delhi & NCR region.
Being voluntarily approached by an organization named Jyoti Yatra for their second event (the first was held in April 2017), underlines UPAY’s acceptance as a significant contributor towards the cause of support for the underprivileged. It was our children’s first ever exposure to such an event. For them, it signified a big transition from their chaotic neighbourhoods to a well arranged sports event.
The short but sweet journey began with practice in a coarse temple courtyard (UPAY Sikanderpur Centre) that is also utilized for our weekend classes. As they say, ‘Where there is a will, there is a way’, our volunteers left no stone unturned to get the children to hone their skills in a setting that could even remotely resemble a sports ground. Considering Gurgaon is an urbane, concrete jungle, managing access to open spaces is itself a feat. Not only this, UPAY also faced the daunting task of convincing the parents of participating children and establishing their trust to let us handle the responsibility of their kids was an achievement in itself. Several practice sessions held at available venues were tutored by Ravi, Ayush and Ashish.
Finally, when the day arrived, our team of 9 children (Bijoy, Sikander, Neha, Vishakha, Anshika, Neha, Sikander, Farrukh and Jumer) strode in confidence to wage their battle. A notable participation from girls, who themselves volunteered, was motivating. While India’s another daughter PV Sindhu was crusading on the badminton court, our girls displayed ample talent here on the field. Our team played three enjoyable matches with more skilled teams, bringing the first to a draw, which is a victory of its own considering lack of prior experience and constrained facilities during practice for them. Their thirst for knowledge was evident in the way they sportingly absorbed the rules of the game and techniques by observing and communicating with their counterparts.
Varun Shrivastava, our Founder, who is based in Nagpur, visited the premises to support and motivate the children to give it their best shot. Successfully coordinated by Aishwarya, the event saw the presence of our energetic volunteers, Akanksha (who was also accompanied by her husband, Manoranjan), Akhil, Ayush, Mukesh, Harsha, Mithila and Lekha.
It is often said that certain things are understood better once experienced and UPAY sincerely hopes that this event gives more clarity to the vision of little dreams that may have been limited until now by the lack of an actual experience!
– By Jasmine Kalsi