Photos: Young footballers kick the ball out of a slum in Delhi

At 'My Angels Academy' in Vikaspuri, Delhi, young children are being trained as footballers and are using the sport to find their way out of the slums and carve a life in the world outside.

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST 10 Photos
1 / 10
Young boys and girls from a slum in Delhi’s Vikaspuri area are taking to football, trained by Sylvester Peter, who runs ‘My Angels Academy.’ The academy is not just a football club, rather a way out of the slums for these children. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

Young boys and girls from a slum in Delhi’s Vikaspuri area are taking to football, trained by Sylvester Peter, who runs ‘My Angels Academy.’ The academy is not just a football club, rather a way out of the slums for these children. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
2 / 10
Jishan (L) helps Rohit at with a pack of footballs for training at the camp in Vikaspuri, New Delhi. At Sylvester Peter’s academy, children are trained early in the morning and football is a way of not just releasing their energy but also reforming their way of living. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

Jishan (L) helps Rohit at with a pack of footballs for training at the camp in Vikaspuri, New Delhi. At Sylvester Peter’s academy, children are trained early in the morning and football is a way of not just releasing their energy but also reforming their way of living. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
3 / 10
At eight, Asha already knows what a football injury feels like. At ‘My Angels Academy’ in Vikaspuri, she’s among several young boys and girls who’re taught to play football properly, with a strong focus on technique, stamina and attitude. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

At eight, Asha already knows what a football injury feels like. At ‘My Angels Academy’ in Vikaspuri, she’s among several young boys and girls who’re taught to play football properly, with a strong focus on technique, stamina and attitude. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
4 / 10
Sylvester Peter was keen at a very young age to start his own football academy and as he grew older, he put together resources to start ‘My Angels Academy.’ Today, it operates out of a small 18ft x 10ft rented shanty in Vikaspuri, New Delhi and is bringing changes in the society through sheer love and care. Former drug addict and petty thieves are today’s confident and dreaming youth, who excel as bankers and professional football players. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

Sylvester Peter was keen at a very young age to start his own football academy and as he grew older, he put together resources to start ‘My Angels Academy.’ Today, it operates out of a small 18ft x 10ft rented shanty in Vikaspuri, New Delhi and is bringing changes in the society through sheer love and care. Former drug addict and petty thieves are today’s confident and dreaming youth, who excel as bankers and professional football players. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
5 / 10
Neelam shows off her Lionel Messi jersey to her fellow team members at the academy in Vikaspuri. She plays in the under-9 category and apart from football, she’s also good at school and drawing. Girls are encouraged to pick up the sport as much as boys in Peter’s ‘My Angels Academy.’ (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

Neelam shows off her Lionel Messi jersey to her fellow team members at the academy in Vikaspuri. She plays in the under-9 category and apart from football, she’s also good at school and drawing. Girls are encouraged to pick up the sport as much as boys in Peter’s ‘My Angels Academy.’ (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
6 / 10
Rajkumari (L) plays in the girls team as a defender, while Amrita (R) plays as a right forward. While Rajkumari has set her eyes on being a policewoman, Amrita dreams of becoming a professional Bharatnatyam dancer when she grows up. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

Rajkumari (L) plays in the girls team as a defender, while Amrita (R) plays as a right forward. While Rajkumari has set her eyes on being a policewoman, Amrita dreams of becoming a professional Bharatnatyam dancer when she grows up. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
7 / 10
In the narrow lanes of the basti in Vikaspuri, little Sameer shows off a sketch he’s made of his icon, Lionel Messi. This exercise to make the kids play football has transformed the entire mindset of this class driven society. Today many young underprivileged boys and girls – even from orthodox families, can be seen playing football in the wee hours of the morning without any fear and discrimination. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

In the narrow lanes of the basti in Vikaspuri, little Sameer shows off a sketch he’s made of his icon, Lionel Messi. This exercise to make the kids play football has transformed the entire mindset of this class driven society. Today many young underprivileged boys and girls – even from orthodox families, can be seen playing football in the wee hours of the morning without any fear and discrimination. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
8 / 10
An under-11 team member, Nikki dribbles a football on her finger with ease. She’s keen to take up the sport professionally and also try her hand at fine art. ‘My Angels Academy’ has turned out to be a good gender-equal space, where sporting excellence thrives in an environment of love and care. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

An under-11 team member, Nikki dribbles a football on her finger with ease. She’s keen to take up the sport professionally and also try her hand at fine art. ‘My Angels Academy’ has turned out to be a good gender-equal space, where sporting excellence thrives in an environment of love and care. (Raj K Raj/HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
9 / 10
Thanks to their football coach Sylvester, who is lovingly called ‘bhaiyya’ by the slum’s residents, many young have not been sucked into drug peddling, anti-social activities, rag picking or politics. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

Thanks to their football coach Sylvester, who is lovingly called ‘bhaiyya’ by the slum’s residents, many young have not been sucked into drug peddling, anti-social activities, rag picking or politics. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
10 / 10
Every morning at 4 am, the young footballers, which includes several girls, practice in the local park in Vikaspuri, making it an inclusive space and a way out of the slums for these young children. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

Every morning at 4 am, the young footballers, which includes several girls, practice in the local park in Vikaspuri, making it an inclusive space and a way out of the slums for these young children. (RAJ K RAJ / HT PHOTO)

UPDATED ON OCT 10, 2017 03:50 PM IST
SHARE
Story Saved