TAFISA Stories: Pro Sport Development

Community Sports Program

Pro sport dev logoPro Sport Development’s (PSD) Community Sports Program (CSP) works with children from underprivileged and marginalised backgrounds between the ages of 5-15 years living and studying in various slum settlements across the city of Bhubaneshwar, Odisha in Eastern India. Since 2015, the CSP has worked with 2,803 girls and boys (45% girls) studying in 21 community-based schools in Bhubaneswar. In 2018, PSD was recognised by the International Olympic Committee’s Sport and Active Society Commission for its work in the area of sports for all as part of the CSP.

The goal of the CSP is to improve the health and well-being as well as socio-emotional development of marginalised children, with a focus on girls, and empower them to become confident and competent leaders within their own communities.

The CSP utilises a well-structured, goal-oriented and age-appropriate physical activity and multi-sport curriculum, delivered in mixed-gender groups, to achieve the main objectives of the program outlined below:

  • Children, especially girls, develop soft skills (teamwork, effective communication, leadership) and learn important values (respect, equality, fairplay) while growing in confidence and building resilience.
  • Girls and boys develop positive relationships based on mutual respect, equality and friendship.
  • Key stakeholders in the community, including school teachers and parents, build their understanding of the benefits of regular participation of children in sports and physical activity.

The CSP integrates and enables several of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) within its programming; these include SDG 3 (Good Health and Well-Being), SDG 4 (Quality Education) and SDG 5 (Gender Equality).

One of the key objectives of the CSP is to provide marginalised and underprivileged children with regular access to sport and structured physical activity, which positively impacts their health and well-being, improving their general motor skills and boosting their confidence and self-esteem. (SDG 3)

Further, the CSP provides children their fundamental right to participate in sport, an important aspect of holistic education missing in many schools in India, allowing them to learn soft-skills and sporting values which they do not learn in classrooms. (SDG 4)

The CSP has a particular focus on the participation of girls, providing both girls and boys a safe space to engage in mixed-gender sporting activities and competitions. This strategy allows girls and boys to positively and constructively interact with each other, leading to healthy friendships and relationships. Such opportunities are lacking in Indian society due to patriarchal norms, and in most contexts there is still segregation between girls and boys today, whether it be in the classroom or in the playground. (SDG 5)