The Salaam Bombay Foundation, a recipient of a 2016 IOC Sport and Active Society Commission grant has used its award to organise a girls-only Tennis Ball tournament to empower young girls and teach them about the importance of sport, good nutrition and staying away from tobacco.
The Sport and Active Society development grants are an initiative of the IOC’s Sport and Active Society Commission. They were created to further its mission to encourage people everywhere to participate in regular physical activity and to promote the health and social benefits of sport.
In 2016, the Commission awarded four development grants worth USD 20,000 each to organisations running effective sport for all programmes in their communities. Among the recipients of the 2016 grants programme was the Salaam Bombay Foundation, in Mumbai, India, an organisation that seeks to empower children to make the right choices for their health, education and livelihoods and encourage them to continue their schooling. To achieve its mission, the Foundation engages with “at risk” children through in-school leadership programmes and after-school activities including sports, arts, media and vocational training.
Earlier this year in February, the Salaam Bombay Cricket Academy organised a girls-only Tennis Ball Tournament for youngsters from underprivileged backgrounds, intended to encourage girls in government-run schools to take part in sport, boost their confidence and inculcate in them leadership qualities. The tournament, which took the form of a 10-over format lasted for five days and brought together 180 girls aged between 12 and 14 from 15 municipal schools in the city of Mumbai. It took place on three public municipal grounds with cricket facilities – NM Joshi Municipal Ground, Ambedkar Municipal Ground and Dongri Municipal Ground. The finals of the tournament were held on 1 February. Prizes were awarded to the winners, along with medals, trophies and certificates for participants.
Organisers took advantage of having a captive audience to impart messages about the importance of sport, the value of good nutrition and the importance of staying away from tobacco by holding workshops and distributing information leaflets immediately before the tournament started. After the tournament, discussions were held to debrief on the lessons participants had learned both from participation in the sporting activity and as a result of the workshops.
“Girls in India don’t always have access to play as there is a widely held belief that sport is for boys. We started the all-girls team to bring girls to the playground and help them to understand that they too can play and have fun,” said Devika Chadha, Vice-President Sports at the Salaam Bombay Foundation.
Sport can be an excellent platform to provide not only youth, but the wider community with positive messages relating to health and nutritionSam Ramsamy Chair of the IOC’s Sport and Active Society Commission
Commenting on this event Sam Ramsamy, the Chair of the IOC’s Sport and Active Society Commission, said “Sport can be an excellent platform to provide not only youth, but the wider community with positive messages relating to health and nutrition. I commend the Salaam Bombay Foundation for their efforts to use their Tennis Ball tournament as an engaging way to promote the importance of good nutrition and staying away from tobacco in a fun and safe environment.”