As home to over 2000 slum settlements comprising mostly of migrant workers, Bangalore witnesses the rise and subsequent fall of thousands of young men who came to the city with big dreams for a better life but are held back by a range of social issues that grip these settlements. Most of the residents of these slums are employed in the informal sector – as domestic helpers, sweepers, manual labourers or at other menial jobs that often do not pay them enough to make ends meet or move ahead in life.
In such dire circumstances, good education for their young ones is completely out of the question. Many of these children are enrolled in government-run public schools that provide free education. But without motivation and guidance, most young boys drop out of school and are pulled into dangerous habits such as gambling, drugs and petty crimes from a very young age. As young men with little to no education and no proper training, they often have to shoulder the tremendous financial burden of being the sole-earning member supporting a large family. But lacking proper skills and opportunities, these young men eventually fall back into bad habits and continue to perpetuate the toxic cycles of abuse and violence that held them back.
To meet this express need, TFPIndia has launched TFPI Sports. Focused on at-risk youth from 11 under-served communities across Bangalore, this initiative uses football as a tool to transform young lives and build a sense of community. It includes activities such as sports camps, music, life-skill training and academics as an alternative to a life of gang involvement, drugs, crime, illiteracy and poverty. Engaging in rigorous and effective sports training not only provides a much-needed distraction from difficult home situations, it actively builds focus and resilience in restless young minds.
Over the last 7 years, TFPI Sports has been able to build an excellent relationship with the boys’ families who have witnessed first hand a dramatic transformation in the lives of their sons, grandsons and brothers which has in turn impacted their families and their communities.
Nutrition and Sports equipement
As athletes committed to regular practice regiments and demanding training sessions, these young players require a nutritious diet comprising of eggs, milk, fruit and vegetables which is be provided on a daily basis. Daily nutrition will sustain their health and physical fitness requirements while also building stamina and allowing them to play better.
The boys are also periodically supplied with sports kits with all the essential football equipment such as football jerseys, cleats, socks and shinguards. This reinforces as sense of equality and professionalism among the young boys.
The entire TFPI Sports programme is facilitated by a project team of passionate coaches and counsellors who build relationships with the youth and their families on a daily basis through professional football coaching and home visitations. With a supportive relationship as the foundation, the coaches are able to mentor the youth, assess their interests, understand their individual aptitudes and motivate them into careers and alternate lifestyle choices.
As strong motivating factor for the young boys is that most of the coaches have come up through the system and are from these under-served communities themselves. TFPI seeks to create an opportunity for coaches to receive the support that will empower them to overcome the obstacles brought on by poverty and work towards reaching their own goals. Through TFPI Sports, coaches will provided opportunities to train for and acquire certification and coaching licenses for a period of two years. With the proper licensing, they will be able to acquire employment at other reputed football coaching academies and training centres in the city. These empowered coaches will be able to train and bring up more coaches who can in turn find employment and reach out to other at-risk youth from under-served communities.
The counsellors and coaches also work with their families in a support capacity to develop and improve their employability prospects thus encouraging economic independence and improved livelihood outcomes for the young men.