The Renewable Design Company has been supporting a charity from the slums of Mumbai to help provide education and opportunities for the young children. The charity called the Oscar Foundation provides much needed education to the young children through football. Ashok Rathod the young founder of the charity offers the kids the chance to play football but they have to go to School first. Over the past few years as the charity has grown more and more children have joined him hopeful of getting the opportunities other children in the city are offered. He now has 3,500 children in the slums of India who have joined his foundation. RDC is helping raise the funds needed top bring some of these teams to the UK to play football and join classes here for a lifetime experience. More information is below:
Ashok (28) grew up and still lives in one of the largest slums in Asia, housing nearly a million people. Ashok’s parents are uneducated, his father was a fisherman and his mother tends to the tiny, 6 sq ft family home. His parents were insistent he went to school; he resented them for forcing him. Meanwhile his friends would go to the fishing port, pick up fish which had fallen out of the nets and sell them. With the rupees earned they would give a few to their parents to silence them and the rest they would squander on drink and drugs. At the time this seemed like a much more exciting life to the young Ashok.
When he was 18 he realized his parents had done the right thing by insisting he had an education. He turned from being resentful to grateful. He was now all too aware of the temptations for all the young children in his community and he decided to do something about it. A very popular boy in the slum, he started a football team to give the poorest, most ‘at risk’ children something fun to do. Everyone wanted to be in Ashok’s football team, giving him the ideal starting point to set up the Oscar Foundation. The ethos of the Oscar Foundation is to link education and sport. To be a part of Oscar you have to go to school.
One major ongoing challenge is to convince struggling, poor parents to send their children to school and not to make them work. Furthermore he feels passionately about equal rights for the girls. He has been phenomenally successful getting girls out of work and home and into school. This is a major achievement, which extends way beyond the slums but across India. Giving girls an education considerably reduces the risk of them becoming child brides.
The Oscar Foundation, (Organisation for Social Change, Awareness and Responsibility) has gone from strength to strength. Ashok himself has held over 100 talks, made two Ted lectures and been flown to China to introduce the template for Oscar for integration in Chinese slums. Ashok’s CV is a glowing testament to a young man who, after all the changes
he has made to his own and many other’s lives, still chooses to live in the slums. Quite rightly he calls it his ‘community’ and has no intention of moving. He is immaculately
presented, well spoken, well educated and passionate about change. In April, he was chosen to meet the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge during their recent visit to India. Ashok appeared in all the UK national papers, Hello Magazine and the front page of The Times of India.
Our focus is a project to bring an Under 14 Oscar football team to the UK to play against 4 Preparatory schools in Gloucestershire and Surrey. Beaudesert Park School in Minchinhampton has embraced the idea and with their considerable help, a fixture list is now in place for October 2017. Over the last few weeks Ashok has been visiting the UK to fulfill a week of school lectures. He has presented to over 2,500 adults and children; with the intention that the schools will adopt the Oscar Foundation and be an integral part of the fundraising exercise. The target is £25,000. £2,000 of this will go on passports and visas. Giving the young people passports is just the start of the journey for them. The tour will be both
educational and fun. Staying overnight at boarding schools, taking part in lessons, visiting Wembley Stadium and meeting the Chelsea players, a theatre visit and tour of London. A trip so rich in variety it will leave them with memories to treasure. It will send them back with aspiration, education and leadership skills. Ashok will make sure the team uses the experience to encourage, inspire and educate other children in the community.
There are many ways for companies to get involved with the tour, branding on team kit, football grounds, the tour bus plus many more. We have the backing of sporting legends, which will provide invaluable PR opportunities. The project needs financial investment but we also need flights, football kit, boots, accommodation, theatre tickets, train tickets, food etc. A tailor-made PR programme will be offered to any business or organization that pledges support.
Please feel free to contact us and do have a look at the BT Giving page. The children at Oscar will warmly receive any donations. The more money we raise the more enriching the experience.