Wrestler visits Trombay Public High School in slums of Cheeta Camp, Mankhurd
Smackdown Live announcer and retired WWE Grand Slam champion John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield and Slum Soccer Krida Vikas Sanstha, Nagpur kicked off Project Edu-Kick at the Trombay Public High School, Cheeta Camp, in the slums of Mankhurd on Wednesday, September 27.
“I heard so much about Slum Soccer. By educating these children (through football), they are fulfilling a need....by teaching kids how to learn, how to love their coaches and teachers. (Their love) is genuine. You cannot fake that,” said a bemused Layfield. “Slum Soccer is bridging the gaps in a significant way. I see a very wide gap – between the super rich....and the super poor.”
Layfield added: “Being brought up in a poor area, the options are limited for these youngsters. Back home, in Bermuda and New York City, we run similar programmes in disadvantaged areas. The kids there are in terrible shape. You either belong to a gang and break the law or belong to sport and do things the right way. I’ve picked up quite a few ideas from here and hope to use them (for our programmes) back home.”
“It was an awesome experience (at the Trombay Public High School). I’m not special, these teachers are. They are the real heroes. Education is the key, education is life. It builds everything that’s positive. The future lies here,” emphasised Layfield.
Said Dr. Abhijeet Barse, CEO, Slum Soccer: “Slum Soccer aims to change life in the slums, where the game of football is used as a means to connect individuals, teaching life skills and working towards improving overall quality of life for underprivileged youth. The Slum Soccer team aims to expand and provide better training facilities to the youth.”
The uniqueness of Project EDU-KICK lies in utilizing existing resources to reach a new point. The proposed impact, however, does not exist to direct beneficiaries of the project, but also the caretaker and locality surrounding the participants and school.
Conceptualised to address the 4th Sustainable Developement Goal, Project EDU-KICK is an initiative by Slum Soccer which focuses on the promotion of primary education for children from the underprivileged section of society who don’t get opportunities to attend school, and also for those who attend schools but whose learning abilities are poor. Project EDU-KICK aims to improve and build upon the existing educational outcomes and to improve its efficacy.
John ‘Bradshaw’ Layfield, who retired from in-ring competition in 2009, recently stepped down from his post as a weekly announcer on WWE SmackDown to dedicate more continuous time on the work he has done since 2010 with at-risk kids and communities.
“At 50 years old I aim to spend my time left making a difference,” said Layfield. “My new schedule will allow me to continue to be a part of the WWE family and also continue my work that I feel is the most important thing in my life.”
With the help of Beyond Sport, Layfield founded Beyond Rugby Bermuda in 2010 – which has been recognized as one of the world’s best charities for work with at-risk, gang focused, youth intervention. Beyond Rugby Bermuda won the 2014 NACRA Fair Play Award out of 7,000 programmes and 17 countries for its work with at-risk kids. Layfield was named as a Beyond Sport Global Ambassador – an organization backed by all major sports leagues in the US.
Project EDU-KICK is an innovation in a way it uses technology very uniquely. The games are very new. The use of sports to teach life skills is not a new thing. Slum Soccer uses sport to change lives by using football for mathematics and financial literacy.
“We have designed several games based on soccer to teach mathematics. We have games based on the topics — Number System, Tables, Even & Odd Numbers, BODMAS, Profit & Loss. Through this programme, we target the kids of slum areas and villages where they do not get good primary education and as a result they are ignored by the mainstream community,” added Dr. Abhijeet Barse.
By using this programme Slum Soccer would like to work on one of the MDG of UN which says that every child has a right to get primary education and it also comes under the Right To Education Act in the Constitution of India.
In February this year, Slum Soccer organised the 14th edition of the National Inclusion Cup football competition for men and women, to support the cause of empowering India’s underprivileged youth through sports. All the teams had players from underprivileged backgrounds.
In addition to the National Inclusion Cup, Slum Soccer has other worthy projects such as Game Changers. Game Changers prepares youth with life and leadership skills by engaging them in challenging societal improvement projects.
Said Vijay Barse, Founder, Slum Soccer, “Slum Soccer fosters sustainable development within the marginalized population of India, using football to bring about a change in the lives of street dwellers. We aim to provide long term solutions to combat homelessness and improve living standards in underprivileged areas. Sport is therapeutic and we aim to give these youth hope and purpose. With more support we will be able to increase our reach, the number of individuals we can impact as well as improve the quality of that impact. We are grateful to those believing in this cause of connecting individuals, teaching life skills and working towards improving the overall quality of life through football.”
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