Laureus Sport for Good and BT, one of the world’s leading providers of communications services and solutions, have teamed up to use football as a positive force for change among some of India’s most disadvantaged youth.
The funding, from BT charitable initiative The Supporters Club which funnels money from its BT Sport customers in the UK, will be implemented within the Slum Soccer project with the help of Laureus Sport for Good over the next two years.
Using an innovative football-based curriculum, Slum Soccer will work in partnership with 15 state schools in Chennai to engage 1,500 children in lessons and activities that will equip them to be leaders of their communities and role models for their peers both on and off the pitch.
The aim of Slum Soccer is to foster sustainable development within otherwise marginalised populations of India. Working in areas of homelessness and disadvantage, Slum Soccer uses football to connect individuals, teach life skills and empower youngsters to work towards improving their overall quality of life.
This is the latest sporting charitable project backed by BT in the country. BT --- the global communications player which has fast-growing operations in India --- has previously backed the Amos Trust (which support hundreds of children living in and around the railway station in Chennai, providing access to healthcare and education), and, the British Council which runs the “Kolkata Goalz” in partnership with the English Premier League, using football to develop a brighter future for young people.
Laureus Academy Member and former Indian cricket captain Kapil Dev welcomed the partnership. He said: “I am delighted that BT Supporters Club will be helping Laureus Sport for Good to support more programmes improving the lives of young people in India. Slum Soccer is an innovative project achieving real impact, and we are thrilled to be working with them.
“I am proud of what Laureus Sport for Good and our partners have achieved in this country over our history of working here, but we recognise there is the opportunity and need to do so much more in India, and we will be striving to make that happen. Partners such as BT Sport not only help us to do that work, but their credibility and strength add weight to our belief in the power of sport. As Nelson Mandela said, sport has the power to change the world. It has changed mine and hope that it changes the lives of many more youths around the world.”
Sumit Mitra, Managing Director, Central Business Services, BT, said: “At BT, we believe in the power of communications to make a better world. By supporting good causes with our time, technology and expertise, we’re helping to improve the lives of millions of people around the world. India has always been a strategic country for BT thanks to availability of skills, flexibility and quality of work of employees. As we are growing our operations in India, we are delighted to collaborate with Laureus Sport for Good and Slum Soccer and be involved in a project that will help 1,500 children to build personal skills.”
Slum Soccer CEO Dr. Abhijeet Barse said, "The support from Laureus Sport for Good and BT will allow us to make a lasting impact in 1500 children's lives. Their backing will enable Slum Soccer to make end-to-end investments in its Edu-Kick program aimed to educate through the medium of football. We have made improvements in infrastructure, outreach, training, and implementation with the support from our partners. With all Edu-Kick trainers being previous participants of the same program, we believe that a virtuous circle of sustainability has been set in motion."