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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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Cleaning up Latvia’s coastline

The Baltic is one of the most polluted seas in the world. There’s litter strewn along many of the beaches on Latvia’s Baltic coast, and waste from industry and agriculture seep into the water.

But despite the pollution problem, local environmentalist Uldis Mors is determined to remind people of the beauty of the 500 kilometer shore. The 25-year-old has organized a special group expedition along the stretch of coast as part of a campaign called “Mana jūra,” or “My Sea” in English.

He’s hoping the trek will raise awareness about the fragile ecosystem, and persuade participants the shore is worth protecting.

Listen to the report by Gederts Gelzis in Riga, Latvia:

Uldis wants to show people the beauty of the Baltic Sea coast (Photo: G. Gelzis)

Uldis wants to show people the beauty of the Baltic Sea coast (Photo: G. Gelzis)

Date

Wednesday 13.08.2014 | 07:41

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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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Soccer mentor gives future stars plan B

Angelo Daut loves soccer so much, he’s willing to get up early on a Saturday morning to stand on the sidelines in the rain and watch teenagers kick the ball. Some of those teens, however, may go on to become Germany’s next biggest stars.

Angelo, however, doesn’t work with young footballer players for the fame and glory. Rather, he’s focused on developing their character and encouraging them to continue their education. He wants to make sure they have plenty of opportunities – even after their soccer career.

Listen to the report by Daniel Heinrich in Bielefeld:

Watch Daniel Heinrich’s video to see Angelo Daut in action:

 

 

 

 

 

Date

Tuesday 15.07.2014 | 12:07

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Human rights in Rwanda and Bosnia: Call for applications from Global Youth Connect

Global Youth Connect is now accepting applications for its summer human rights programs in Rwanda and Bosnia-Herzegovina.

Application Deadline:

Feb 15, 2014

Here’s more from the organization:

Dear Colleagues, Friends, and Future Participants:

We wanted to remind you that Global Youth Connect is now accepting applications for our Summer 2014 Human Rights Programs in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Rwanda.

Each program will bring visiting youth (from the US, Canada, the UK, Australia, and all around the world) together with youth in the host location to engage together in three key activities:

  • A cross cultural human rights workshop
  • Visits/meetings with policy makers, organizations, and to relevant sites
  • Volunteer service with grassroots NGOs on a variety of human rights issues including but not limited to: conflict resolution, education, health care, food/shelter, access to justice, human rights of children/youth, women, low-income populations, LGBTQ populations, indigenous populations, genocide survivors.

The deadline for applications is February 15, 2014.

Ages 18 – 30 (for Bosnia Programs) and 18 – 35 (for Rwanda Program).

Anyone can apply! From the US, Canada, and all over the world.

So please forward widely, share on Facebook, or help promote by putting up this GYC 2014 Summer Programs Poster.

Note: Program fees quoted are for visiting participants (not for local Rwandan or Bosnian participants). Some tuition reduction scholarship assistance is available for each program. See individual application documents for more information about tuition reduction scholarships.

To apply, click here.

For testimonials, click here.

For previous Rwanda reports, click here.

For previous Bosnia reports, click here.

GYC Blogs: gycvillage.org and the Open Society’s youthpolicy.org/interculturalblogging

Date

Wednesday 12.02.2014 | 13:18

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Express yourself with color

Graffiti has a bad name. It’s often associated with vandalism, out-of-control youth and illegal tags in seedy places.

But for 23-year-old Daria Andert, graffiti can also be an important way for young people to express themselves and connect with their “inner artist.”

The art student from Cologne volunteers with a graffiti project called MittwochsMaler (Wednesday Painters), which holds drawing workshops, and helps aspiring sprayers practice graffiti on a legal wall.

Daria is hoping to deter illegal tagging, and show society graffiti artists shouldn’t be painted with the same brush as vandals.

Listen to the report by Natalie Muller in Cologne:

Daria Andert see street art as a way to make a difference

Daria Andert see street art as a way to make a difference  (Photo: N. Muller)

Here, spraying is legal

Here, spraying is legal (Photo: N. Muller)

Daria is considering a career as a teacher (Photo: N. Muller)

Daria is considering a career as a teacher (Photo: N. Muller)

It's all about the freedom to express yourself (Photo: N. Muller)

It’s all about the freedom to express yourself (Photo: N. Muller)

Mittwochs Maler is a colorful break from Daria's art studies

Mittwochs Maler is a break from Daria’s art studies (Photo: N. Muller)

 

 

 

 

 

Date

Tuesday 07.01.2014 | 13:52

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Revolutionary news for youth, by youth

Muna Mire is passionate about information. And about impacting her generation.

Some people say today’s 20-somethings are vain and self-absorbed. But Muna is working together with Canada-based youth news organization Young{ist} to prove they’re not – and also make sure her peers don’t become like that.

Mira and her team – all under 26 – are a critical voice in today’s media landscape, aiming to reach anyone who wants to stay engaged with what young people are doing on the ground.

Listen to the report by Ellie Gordon-Moershel in Toronto, Canada:

Muna Mire

Muna Mire is changing the media landscape for her generation (Photo: Young{ist})

Mira Muna

Muna says her generation is especially diverse – and not as apathetic as people say (Photo: Asam Ahmad)

Date

Tuesday 03.12.2013 | 13:05

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Finland’s guardian angel

Alcohol abuse is a series problem in Turku, especially among youths. Sanna Aalto gives up her own Friday nights to help teens who are too drunk to help themselves. The real problem, she says, is that they need an ear.

Listen to the report by Ari Welling in Turku, Finland:

Finland’s guardian angel

Sanna Aalto

Sanna gives up her own Friday nights to help other teens (Photo: A. Welling)

Sanna Aalto

Sanna’s organization is having a hard time recruiting new volunteers (Photo: A. Welling)

 

Date

Tuesday 26.11.2013 | 13:08

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Opening doors abroad

Portugal’s young people are going through difficult times. Youth unemployment in the country is at over 40 percent and many of those who do stay in Portugal end up in jobs that offer little career development. What makes things even tougher is that many Portuguese youth are traditionally reluctant to travel overseas to improve their job opportunities, or even just try something new.

Gonçalo Azevedo Silva is an exception. After spending a year abroad doing a GAP Year, he founded the organization GapYear.pt. The group aims to give Portuguese school leavers a perspective, by connecting them with foundations and charities who need people to volunteer overseas.

Listen to the report by André Leslie:

Opening doors abroad

Gonçalo Azevedo Silva

Gonçalo Azevedo Silva is pictured here during his volunteer year in East Timor

More on the Gap Year website (in Portuguese.)

Date

Tuesday 06.08.2013 | 11:52

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Dance for unity in Nigeria

In Nigeria, country with many languages and ethnic groups, Thomas believes that people shouldn’t be judged on their background. He’s now bringing thousands of young people together with a unique unity dance.

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

Dance for unity in Nigeria

Thomas Eba coming out from performance

Thomas draws out the traditional elements of Nigera’s ethnic groups (Photo: N. Aghaji)

Thomas performing

Thomas in action (Photo: N. Aghaji)

Unity dancers

Thomas has brought the unity dance to thousands of young people in his community (Photo: N. Aghaji)

Date

Tuesday 30.07.2013 | 11:56

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