UMOYA | 11 May 2018
This is a guest post by Aditya Kv, founder of UMOYA Sports. Follow their activities on Facebook here.
A sports injury which forced me to be bedridden for a long period of time enabled me to realise the various challenges faced by people with disabilities (PWD) on a daily basis.
During my Teach For India fellowship, there were four children with intellectual disabilities in my classroom. These children suffered the same challenges as I did that affected them emotionally, socially and also academically. After my fellowship, while I worked at a sports organisation, we had to deny participation to children with disabilities. There were times when I was denied participation due to my limitations during my injury as well.
These experiences troubled me deeply, and I realised the lack of opportunities available for PWD to participate in sports. It is fair to say that these experiences fuelled my desire to promote inclusion. I was inspired to combine my love and knowledge of sports and my desire to build an ‘inclusive sports culture.’
UMOYA Sports arose from a single belief that ‘sports benefits all, equally.’
Social entrepreneurship is not only about setting up your program, implementing it, and assessing the impact.
The initial few months, and even till now, I tried to understand all the aspects involved including program management, marketing and sales, fundraising, legal, finance, and administration.
I had a strong support structure during this process that made me realise the value of relationships. I had mentors who believed in me and my strong belief in the cause which also helped me in bringing all the support together. I received support from special educators in understanding disabilities, from sports experts in helping me create the curriculum, and from parent communities in understanding the challenges. Soon we curated a progressive year-long sports program specially catered for individuals with intellectual and other disabilities, and I began implementing the pilot program. The pilot program gave me an excellent understanding of the limitations of the children, their range of limitations, and the improvements needed in the program curriculum.
I always believe that to create an impact and get the best results, it is essential to build opportunities and network at the grass root level. With that aim, I started reaching out to NGOs and schools working with children with disabilities.
I am proud to share that UMOYA Sports has joined hands with two NGOs and impacted close to 100 people with disabilities, thereby working with close to 350 kids in total. We value this as our organisational success within a short span of three months.
We have conducted close to 100 hours of training program so far and have observed a 10% improvement in motor skill and body management expertise and a 15% improvement in aerobic capacity among athletes with disabilities. We believe this impact indicates the effectiveness of our program.
UMOYA Sports has also collaborated with Mission XI Million (MXIM) as part of the road to FIFA U17 World Cup India 2017 program to build inclusion in the program. MXIM is a program supported by Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports and had already reached out close to 6500 schools and 44 lakh students but had not involved any children with disabilities. We hosted the first ever ‘Inclusive’ Mission XI Million football festival at our partnered location, Vishwas Vidyalaya on 12th August, where close to 400 kids from eight different schools participated. We believe that this is a huge success for us to spread awareness about disabilities and build an ‘inclusive’ sports culture in India.
We believe the joy and smiles that we see on the faces of the young children are our real success stories. We plan to launch an after-school program to reach out to more kids and spread ‘Joy of Sports’.
I thank my team of interns, volunteers, mentors, well-wishers, and special thanks to Atma Network for their continuous support and guidance.
If anyone is interested in helping us in our cause, collaborations, or would want to say hello, please reach out to me at firstname.lastname@example.org