DOWNTOWN RESIDENT: Educating through sports
dna downtown edition
The Oscar foundation is an NGO that has adopted a unique approach of teaching the importance of education to underprivileged boys and girls through football coaching. Their mission and objective is to use sports to teach life skills and positive values and enable active citizenship. The organisation seeks to make the youth and the children aware of their rights as well as their responsibilities within the society. They not only support the youth and children to help them continue their education but also to make them well-rounded citizens.
Ashok Rathod, the director and the founder of the Oscar foundation, is the man behind it. He grew up seeing a lot of his school friends drop out from school, class four onwards, and get addicted
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At one point of time even Ashok thought of dropping out to take up a job, but his father was greatly opposed to it. His father, a fisherman, encouraged Ashok to continue his education at least till his 12th standard.
Rahod started volunteering for a NGO known as Doorstep School (DSS), which conducted different activities for children from a low socio-economic background, while he was studying. Through DSS, Ashok got introduced to Magic Bus, a NGO that works on child development through sports. He played rugby there for five years. After his studies, Rathod joined Magic Bus and began working as a youth mentor. He taught football and other sports for the development of the youth.
"Even after I grew up I noticed that the same cycle still continued—children were still dropping out of school to sell fish and acquiring bad habits. I wanted to change all that and hence I joined Oscar Foundation," said Rathod. "Through football I wanted to teach the kids the importance of education. Just like in football, even if the opponent team scores goals against us, we keep going on, similarly one should continue studying inspite of the obstacles faced," Rathod added. One of the major reasons behind the children dropping out was because they did not even know basic English and Mathematics. Oscar foundation takes care of that. Rathod shared, "The main reason for us to teach them the basics of English and Mathematics was so that they could pass in their examinations and get motivated to continue their education."
Ashok's vision is to create a world that enables the youth to become role models through sport and to inspire and educate them to actively participate in community initiatives.
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