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Schooling meets soccer in Mumbai’s slums

India is a country of cricket-lovers, so can soccer catch on?

Ashok Rathod is convinced that soccer is the best way to give kids growing up in the slums a second lease on life. Teamwork, leadership, respect and communication come out of the game for 22 players.

Having grown up in a Mumbai slum himself, Ashok knows exactly which problem the kids there face. Many start drinking and gambling as young as 10, he says, then get married early and drop out of school.

Committed to make a difference, Ashok founded the Oscar Foundation in 2006. The team organizes soccer practices and matches for young people – but also provides an education program aimed at giving school drop-outs basic literacy skills.

Listen to the report by Sanjay Fernandes in Mumbai:

It was a challenge convincing parents to let their girls play soccer (Photo: S. Fernandes)

It was a challenge convincing parents to let their girls play soccer (Photo: S. Fernandes)

Suraj (right) is Oscar's associate director and Kumar (left) participated in the Oscar program and now works as a coach (Photo: S. Fernandes)

Suraj (right) is Oscar’s associate director and Kumar (left) participated in the Oscar program and now works as a coach (Photo: S. Fernandes)

The Oscar Foundation focuses not only on soccer - but also on education programs (Photo: S. Fernandes)

The Oscar Foundation focuses not only on soccer – but also on education programs (Photo: S. Fernandes)

Ashok Rathod knows first-hand what it's like to grow up in a Mumbai slum (Photo: S. Fernandes)

Ashok Rathod knows first-hand what it’s like to grow up in a Mumbai slum (Photo: S. Fernandes)

 

First published on February 26, 2014.

Date

Tuesday 02.09.2014 | 12:10

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Music keeps California teens off the streets

Richmond, a small city in Northern California just outside of San Francisco, is known for two things: rap music and gang violence, which often leads to drive-by shootings and homicides.

But on Richmond’s southern edge, there’s a building called the RYSE Youth Center. The center was opened to give youth a safe haven from the realities of the streets.

Twenty-year-old Xavier Polk has taken full advantage of the opportunity and introduced a free music production class where he helps teenagers develop their musical talents – and stay off the streets and out of trouble.

Listen to the report by Anne Hofmann and Aaron Mendelson in Richmond, California:

Xavier Polk teaches a free beatmaking class at the RYSE Youth Center to inspire teenagers musically and help them to stay out of trouble (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Xavier Polk teaches a free beatmaking class at the RYSE Youth Center (Photo: A. Mendelson)

15-year-old Janelle Thomas is working on her own track in Xavier's class

Fiften-year-old Janelle Thomas is working on her own track in Xavier’s class (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Student Emandre Winston uses the keyboard connected to the music production software at RYSE to work on his own track (Photo: A. Mendelson)

Student Emandre Winston uses the keyboard connected to the music production software to work on his own track in Xavier’s class (Photo: A. Mendelson)

The mural on the outside of the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California (Photo: A. Mendelson)

The mural on the outside of the RYSE Youth Center in Richmond, California, where Xavier teaches his beatmaking class to give teenagers a safe haven (Photo: A. Mendelson)

 

Date

Wednesday 06.08.2014 | 08:59

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Lifelong learning for kids in rural Nigeria

Simon Patrick Obi from Nigeria built a library at a school in the rural region of Ketti just outside the capital, Abuja, during his time of national youth service. But even after his obligation was finished, he went back because he saw that more needed to be done to support not only the kids’ education, but also their health.

Simon found that just building a library wasn’t enough – he is now making sure it’s being put to good use so the students there get an education that will lead to a brighter future. But that’s not all – he’s also inspiring the next generation of youth to go on an make a difference too.

Listen to the report by Nonye Aghaji in Abuja, Nigeria:

Simon says most of the students come from farming families and he feels education can make a huge difference in their lives (Photo: N. Aghaji)

Simon says most of the students come from farming families and he feels education can make a huge difference in their lives (Photo: N. Aghaji)

 

Date

Tuesday 15.04.2014 | 10:32

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Educating Afghanistan’s orphans

Andeisha Farid knows how important it is for children to get an education. Born in 1983, she grew up as a refugee in Iran after her family was caught in the midst of war in Afghanistan.

Despite the odds, she managed to get an education in Pakistan. When she realized how fortunate she was, she made the decision to return to Afghanistan and set up orphanages there.

Through her organization, the Afghan Child Education and Care Organization (AFCECO), she is working to give some of the country’s estimated 1.6 million orphans a chance to succeed.

Listen to the report by Mischa Wilmers:

Educating Afghanistan’s orphans

Andeisha telling a story

Andeisha knows first-hand what it’s like to live as a refugee (Photo: AFCECO/Andeisha Farid)

Andeisha and children

Afghanistan is estimated to have 1.6 million orphans (Photo: AFCECO/Andeisha Farid)

Andeisha with children in a park

In 2010, President Barack Obama even mentioned Andeisha in a speech on social entrepreneurship

Date

Tuesday 01.10.2013 | 13:40

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Education for child workers in Thailand

Child labor is widespread in Thailand, and it’s often young immigrants from Myanmar who are most affected. Many children are forced to drop out of school and work in the physically demanding agriculture and seafood industries. And missing school means they don’t have a chance at getting a good job later on and overcoming poverty. Win Win Wa, 16, was born in Thailand her parents are from Myanmar. After having to work as a child, she was helped into an education by a Thai NGO. Now she’s helping others understand the importance of going to school.

Listen to the report by Nik Martin in Mahachai near Bangkok:

Education for child workers in Thailand

Win Win Wa

Win Win Wa speaks Burmese, so she can help other migrants from Myanmar (Photo: Nik Martin)

 

Date

Tuesday 23.07.2013 | 12:32

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Rwandan refugee fights for education equality

From official documents to funding and red tape, refugees in South Africa face numerous hurdles when it comes to attending a university. But Alice Wamundiya, originally from Rwanda, is committed to helping her fellow refugees get an education. She is a founding member and chairwoman of an organization called UTRS – Unity for Tertiary Refugee Students.

Listen to the report by Kim Chakanetsa in Cape Town:

Rwandan refugee fights for education equality

Alice Wamundiya

Alice’s father helped give her an appreciation for education (Photo: K. Chakanetsa)

Alice chairing a meeting of the UTRS committee

Alice chairing a meeting of the UTRS committee (Photo: K. Chakanetsa)

Fritz Ako Agbor on campus at the University of Western Cape

Fritz Ako Agbor is nearly done with his studies – in part thanks to Alice (Photo: K. Chakanetsa)

Date

Tuesday 30.04.2013 | 12:21

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Empowering Chinese kids with books

Mao Ju, 29, was concerned when she found out that many Chinese children don’t read for fun. She founded a free library in Beijing, for migrant children in particular, to help them discover the pleasure of reading. She involves the kids in the management of the library and encourages them to express their own opinions on the library blog.

Listen to the report by Gaia Manco in Beijing:

Empowering Chinese kids with books

Mao Ju

Mao Jugoes over the blog with a young helper

A young reader in Beijing

A young reader in Beijing

Mao Ju's library

A glimpse into the small library

Gaia Manco

The kids enjoyed reading with reporter Gaia Manco, too

Check out the blog that the kids at the library write every day.

Date

Tuesday 18.09.2012 | 11:58

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Music keeps Argentine kids in school

Music education can help at-risk kids stay in school and out of drugs and violence, research indicates. And keeping kids off the streets is exactly what the Caacupé Music School, a free, after-school program in Buenos Aires’ 21-24 Shantytown, aims to do. For the past six years, four paid teachers and four volunteers have given lessons in singing, guitar, piano, violin, and a host of other instruments. They hope to instill a love of music in their students and keep them in school.

Listen to the report by Eilis O’Neill in Buenos Aires:

Argentina music school

A freight train passes the Villa 21-24 shantytown

A freight train passes the Villa 21-24 shantytown in Buenos Aires (Copyright: JUAN MABROMATA/AFP/Getty Images)

Date

Wednesday 12.09.2012 | 13:12

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Opening doors for Cape Town kids

According to Jonathan Jansen, a renowned professor at the University of the Free State, thousands of children fail in South Africa’s poor education system every year. However, 26-year-old Lonwabo and several other young men are trying to counter that with a non-profit organization they founded, called Unako. They provide mentorship to school children and also help schools in poor communities to build libraries.

Listen to the report by Faatimah Hendricks in Cape Town:

Opening doors for Cape Town kids

Children in Cape Town celebrate the opening of their library

Children in Cape Town celebrate the opening of their new school library

School project in Cape Town

Kids at Zimasa Primary School did an art workshop with Unako

Date

Tuesday 11.09.2012 | 12:19

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An ear for adolescent girls in Bangalore

Sinu, 30, from Bangalore, gave up a promising engineering career to give back to her community. She is now on a mission to keep adolescent girls in school by promoting awareness about the taboo topic of menstruation.

Listen to the report by Pia Chandavarkar in Bangalore:

An ear for adolescent girls in Bangalore

Sinu Mundkur

Sinu Mundkur conducts sessions for adolescent schoolgirls in and around Bangalore, promoting awareness of menstruation.

Sinu Mundkur

Since menstruation is a topic that is rarely discussed in public, Sinu and her team have devised the program in such a way that the girls can relate to it and feel comfortable enough to open up about it

Date

Tuesday 28.08.2012 | 14:01

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