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In order to encourage and inculcate inclusivity through sports and better the lives of the Kashmiri students, helping them to join the mainstream, ELMS Sports Foundation has partnered a local NGO, The Stears.
To talk about the importance and the benefits of the initiative, the youngsters recently took part in a virtual conference, Physics Literacy India Conference, which was also attended by Vita Dani, co-promoter of ELMS Sports Foundation and the Indian badminton coach Pullela Gopichand, who is also the mentor at ELMS Sports Foundation.
Working together, ELMS Sports Foundation and The Stears identified 36 children from the region between the age group of 13 to 18 years who participated in a ten-week programme—Ghindbaaz, where each of them has gone through copious challenges to sharpen their leadership and problem-solving skills. While the mood disorders such as anxiety and depression have been rampant issues that these kids have been dealing with, sports have the ability to act as a therapy to calm the trauma and channelise the energies.
"ELMS Sports Foundation was created with a clear vision to encourage the youngsters from across the country and contribute in the development of their lives with the help of introduction of physical literacy and use sports as a vehicle to achieve that goal. We are committed to accelerate similar developments even in Kashmir through such initiatives. Our objective is to work at the grassroots level and collaborate with organisations like The Stears to create a more inclusive support system for the students and help them with their overall development," ELMS Sports foundation co-promoter Vita Dani said.
The programme was initiated in the month of June and since then the foundation has been closely working on development of the kids, teaching them various skills such as leadership, teamwork, cooperation and human values other than the sportsman spirit. During the conference, students of this programme also shared their personal experiences and how each of them has defeated the difficult circumstances in their lives to rise up and lead a meaningful life with the help of this physical literacy programme.
Talking about the existing challenges, Meerat, one of the participants, said: "due to the rigid mentality and the gender gap, parents and the society fail to understand the importance of sports. It is hard, especially for the girls, to convince their families and are unable to associate sports with any of us. My parents are literate but still they are not very supportive about me taking up the sports. We can't blame them either and instead we need to subtly change the thinking process by promoting physical literacy initiatives, like the one we completed recently. We hope such programmes are taken up more and more."
The students, who have excelled in the programme, will further get an opportunity to interact with the popular international sports persons and take guidance from them.