A powerhouse of talent for the future of Sports in India: Stairs
STAIRS is an NGO working towards sports, education and health of underprivileged children across various urban and rural areas of India. Since the year 2000, they have worked tirelessly to make sports accessible to children from all backgrounds across India. Thanks to their efforts, several children trained by them are now playing professionally at some of the biggest sporting events worldwide, even though many of these kids are from impoverished backgrounds. Not only has their sports programme helped develop and nourish the sporting talent among them, but also has greatly contributed to their cognitive and overall development.
Why sports education & prowess in sports is as good as, if not better than academic education
Shikha Gaur, Manager of Corporate Communications for Stairs, speaks to Jaago Re: “Once you look at the stories of several children under our wing, you can easily see the positive impact sports has had on many aspects of their lives. There are many such cases but the crux is that there is a positive association between physical activity and mental fitness and all those components also affect academic achievements. Young children involved in sports from an early age tend to show better academic performance; besides that, there’s lesser involvement in juvenile crimes and they tend to be less influenced towards substance abuse. Grassroot sports teaches the youth how to lead a healthy lifestyle early in their lives. Once it becomes a habit in their routines, they tend to continue participating in recreational sports activities throughout their lives. It is a way to incorporate physical activity and a healthy lifestyle right at the starting phase of life.
From the son of a rickshaw driver to representing India at the Asian Games worldwide: Sandeep Kumar
Sandeep Kumar, the son of an auto rickshaw driver was spotted by STAIRS during a talent hunt in Majnu Ka Tilla, Delhi in 2012, an area inhabited by families belonging to the disadvantaged section of the society. He has a family of three, where the monthly income is between Rs.8000-10000. He has been representing the Delhi state Sepak Takraw team in senior National Championship since 2002 and has won medals each year. He represented India in the 16th Asian Games in Guangzhou, China in 2010 and has been selected for the national coaching camp for 17th Asian Games held in Incheon, South Korea, 2014.
Stairs: A widespread reach for children to cross the socio-economic barriers in sports
Like Sandeep Kumar, Stairs has worked with thousands of children across the country. Here’s a quick look at the approximate numbers for their reach:
Over 300,000 children are playing on a daily basis at 400 sports centres across 4000 villages of rural and semi urban areas of India.
Over 45 different forms of sports are being played with equal focus on health and education of the children.
They provide training, scholarships, sports gear and platforms like cricket championships, volleyball championships, STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) for the youth to excel and choose sports as a career.
Today, SSFL is the world’s largest talent scouting and training program in football engaging 100,000 footballers across the country.
STAIRS Khelo programme, running in 7 states of India, has produced 8 international and 12 national level Sepak Takraw players and 5 national level volleyball players.
UFLEX STAIRS School Football League is an initiative by Society for Transformation, Inclusion and Recognition through Sports (STAIRS), a not for profit organisation. UFLEX SSFL is supposedly the world’s largest football talent scouting and training programme at the school level and being held in three states - Delhi, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh this year. The mega sports event has reached out to 100,000 aspiring footballers so far.
Giving Sports its due importance will lead to exemplary results for India in the global sports arena
Shikha Gaur, further continues to stress on their belief on the importance of sports : “STAIRS is a recipient of the prestigious National Sports Award/ Rashtriya Khel Prothsahan Puraskar 2016. Many children trained by us are now representing India across the world. We are a talenthouse for the future of sports in India.
We attempt to channelize the energy of the youth for personal and economic growth through the medium of sports; by creating a holistic development of the youth of India. Since we believe in development of children through sports, we think it’s of utmost importance that sports should be made compulsory in schools. Only when it becomes a part of our educational curriculum, will the overall scenario of sports in India transform.
Adopting sports by schools can make a significant change in the Indian sporting field and like the countless academic legends that have emerged from India, sports legends can also be nurtured to help make India a sporting giant in the global sporting arena.”
Tata Tea has recently launched a petition to make sports a compulsory subject in schools across India.
To make this change possible, I urge everyone to join the movement and sign the petition to make sports a compulsory subject in schools. Sign the petition here
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