In December last year, I got to know about a NGO called ANSH Happiness Society. They call themselves a youth organization founded in Bhopal to come up as a platform for young people to connect, explore and act. How I learnt about ANSH was pretty interesting. I was attending a program by UNICEF Madhya Pradesh, celebrating 70 years of the organisation. Their, I heard the people behind the platform – Mohsin and Kokila, speak about the concept for S4D – Sports for Development.
A few days later, as a continuation of UNICEF’s celebrations, we attended a photo exhibition for S4D at Swaraj Bhawan. Over there, we met a host of youngsters who are themselves students, but involved in this project. Varun Namdev whose photographs were also on display, explained to us how S4D works for the children. ANSH is doing this in association with UNICEF where they are identifying schools and involving the children in sports activities to teach them important life lessons like sharing, caring, supporting, trusting, being trustworthy, etc. These habits are usually not taught to these children at school or home and through sports, they get to learn lessons on morals and self-development without it being a ‘lesson’.
The young people we spoke to like Sanskar, Varun, etc told us that they were all scattered in different districts and for weeks, they spent time with the children, involving them in the games during their school times. The games were inclusive of both gender and that gave the children a seperate set of lessons which are oft forgotten – that they too need to be taught to co-inhabit the world space with the opposite sex, rely on each other, support each other and be a team instead of against each other.
Sports for Development (S4D) is an initiative of the Department of School Education, Govt of MP in association with UNICEF. As of now, 100 schools from across the state have S4D implemented in their curriculum and it is trying to break social and gender barriers by bringing people together. It also aims at breaking hierarchy and advocating inclusion.