Facilitating Equal Opportunities Through Sports

Just For Kicks, India

Shreya Mehta on August 6, 2018 in Sports

It is estimated that about 66% of the high school graduates of India are unemployed due to lack of life skills. 85% children at schools lack sports facilities. In an attempt to combat the same situation, a non-profit organization called Just For Kicks was established in 2011 by Neha Sahu and Vikas Plakkot.

Its goal was to develop life skills among children from low-income families using football as a medium. All the coaches who are part of the program are trained by the organisation. These coaches conduct rigorous training sessions of football to develop a healthy lifestyle and physique. In the process, both life skills and technical skills are also developed and nurtured.

The organisation believes that by teaching children how to tackle various situations on the field, they are also able to inculcate critical thinking, communicative and decision making skills in the children. In the process, children learn how to collaborate and work together as a team. As part of their training they also learn how to cope with stress. Thus, along with developing physical fitness, a holistic awareness of self is gained during the process.

An annual Just For Kicks League (JFK League) is organised to provide exposure and develop healthy competitive skills among the children. Over 3000 children of ages 6-15 years from 101 schools participate in the league.

A league format is followed wherein matches are held first at group levels. Winners from each city are declared ‘regional champions’ and they travel to Mumbai to compete for the ‘national finals’. The top-performing players are given further training by renowned coaches and thereafter are provided local and international opportunities based on their overall performance.

Anybody looking to contribute to the organisation, has a variety of options available to choose from. The first is called Own a lil’ Football Team. By sponsoring it, you not only help a team financially and buy football kits for them, but you also get the opportunity to mentor them and play real-time football with them. If you cannot visit the team locally, you always have the option to engage remotely with them.

The other donation that you can participate in, is called Sponsor A Child. The cost of annual football training and equipment is facilitated as part of the cause. One-Time Contribution options are also available for those who want to make a donation towards buying kits, training equipment or paying for other miscellaneous expenses.

Started with the simple idea and motto Everyone Plays, the organization has become a third home for many children from low-income group, after their school and residence. In an attempt to supplement football with alternative forms of learning, the organization in 2018 decided to venture into new territories and expand.

They have joined hands with two non-profit organizations namely, Enabling Leadership and Music Basti. Through its creative and innovative programs, Enable Leadership works to make children from rural and unprivileged backgrounds into individuals who are better problem solvers and believe in themselves. Music Basti on the other hand works with vulnerable children living in NCR region and uses music as a tool to nurture their confidence and skills.

Vikas Plakkot the co-founder of ‘Just for Kicks’ says, “Starting up a non-profit startup has been incredibly exciting, deeply empowering, and profusely challenging for us as leaders. Our personal learning curve has been just as steep as it would have been had we started up a profitable business. And most importantly, all of it has happened while creating a much-needed positive change in the education system in India. Let nothing stop you from starting one; the journey is just as exhilarating.”

To read more about the inspirational work they are doing, visit Just For Kicks today!

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