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Ringing in social change, sportingly

mumbai Updated: May 14, 2010 02:15 IST
Ringing in social change

For 10 years, they empowered underprivileged children in Mumbai by giving them a chance to play sports. But now, the non-profit organisation Magic Bus wants to join hands with others in the field.

On Wednesday, Magic Bus will host Asia’s first sport and development conference at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Deonar. The conference will serve as a platform for NGOs, policymakers, donor agencies and corporate houses around the world to share practices, case studies and successful models.

These include more than 100 speakers from organisations such as Score Foundation, Special Olympics, Dasra, National Institute of Sport and Right to Play.

“Why should we work in isolation when we want to achieve the same thing? It’s time all stakeholders come together and learn from each other,” said Alka Shesha, co-founder and chief programme officer at Magic Bus, one of the first organisations in India to use sports as a means of social change.

Last year, Shesha was on the team preparing a formal curriculum for the central government’s ‘Sports for All’ policy, aimed at introducing organised sports across rural India.

“That’s where I realised there are so many people trying to make a difference through sports. If everyone gets together, it will be easier to overcome challenges,” she said.

The conference will be followed by a two-day workshop at the Magic Bus centre in Karjat, where around 40 NGOs will share their best practices.

“Sports in open spaces is one of the best ways to help a child grow confident, responsible and empowered,” said Sohan Shah, head of sustainability, Magic Bus.

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