IMPACT

IMPACT

Direct Impact

Indirect Impact

Social Media Outreach

Media Outreach

UTTAM

Uttam was afraid that he would be made fun of for his weight. That prevented him from playing sports

SUSHILA

Sushila was 12 when she attended the first session with Project KHEL. One of the very first things

SANTOSH

Sixteen-year-old Santosh has been with Project KHEL for over three and a half years.

SOHAIL

What struck Sohail immediately after attending PK’s sessions was how politely everyone spoke

ANSHU

Sixteen-year-old Anshu wants to join the army. But that wasn’t always his dream.

BUNTY

Bunty says it like it is: “My mind was like a jammed-up door, but after Project KHEL, it’s opened up.”

GARIMA

She would come to the field and watch Project KHEL’s sessions before we convinced her to join in.

ISHRAR

Ishrar loves playing all kinds of sports: volleyball, football, handball.

NEERAJ

Neeraj started off with no interest in life skills training.

PRITI

Priti was a shy girl. She would hesitate before talking to people and could not make friends easily.

ROSHNI

It was Roshni’s love for books that brought her to PK. Well, in a round-about way.

SAMEER

A naughty child who used to get beaten up by his father for failing a class,

UTTAM

Uttam was afraid that he would be made fun of for his weight. That prevented him from playing sports

SUSHILA

Sushila was 12 when she attended the first session with Project KHEL. One of the very first things

SANTOSH

Sixteen-year-old Santosh has been with Project KHEL for over three and a half years.

SOHAIL

What struck Sohail immediately after attending PK’s sessions was how politely everyone spoke

ANSHU

Sixteen-year-old Anshu wants to join the army. But that wasn’t always his dream.

BUNTY

Bunty says it like it is: “My mind was like a jammed-up door, but after Project KHEL, it’s opened up.”

GARIMA

She would come to the field and watch Project KHEL’s sessions before we convinced her to join in.

ISHRAR

Ishrar loves playing all kinds of sports: volleyball, football, handball. 

NEERAJ

Neeraj started off with no interest in life skills training.

PRITI

Priti was a shy girl. She would hesitate before talking to people and could not make friends easily.

ROSHNI

It was Roshni’s love for books that brought her to PK. Well, in a round-about way.

SAMEER

A naughty child who used to get beaten up by his father for failing a class,

UTTAM

Uttam has been involved in various different roles through his interactions with Project KHEL, starting off as a reluctant participant in sessions at his school, back in 2013, to taking the initiative to begin sharing his learnings with other children living in his colony, to taking on more responsibility as a Youth Leader who facilitates Project KHEL’s curriculum in partner locations and now a Youth Coach within the Ultimate Frisbee programme.

As his responsibilities increased through his involvement with Project KHEL, Uttam recounts how he initially was deeply disinterested in our play-based sessions, largely because he assumed for the first few months that the organisation was being recruited by his school to select a sports team that could participate in local tournaments. Growing up as an overweight child with a poor body-image, he was more inclined towards academics over physical activities and believed that our play-based sessions would serve no purpose in helping him achieve his long-term goals. “I did not feel so excited about them because I was afraid everyone would shame me for being overweight and assumed I wouldn’t be able to play any sports” (Shuruwat mein mujhe sessions pe aane accha nahi lagta tha kyunki dar lagta tha ki log mujhe mote kahenge aur chida denge).

However, he traces his eventual interest in our work to two reasons- first, the consistent interest that the facilitators showed towards all children, irrespective of how much interest the children reciprocated towards them. He says, “They would repeatedly encourage me to join the session and kept giving me opportunities to join even if I was hesitant… After 5-6 months, I got a new type of confidence because I began to trust the didi-bhaiyyas and got comfortable around them” (Aise lagta tha ki agar har bar mujhe mauka de rahe hai toh mai kar paunga…5-6 mahine ke baad, mere andar ek alag hi type ka confidence aa gaya kyunki didi bhaiyya mere jaan pehchan ho gaye aur maine unme bharosa rakha).

Second, he remembers how his curiosity increased when his classmates would return from a session and narrate the fun they had with the Project KHEL facilitators. He says, “They would be very excited after a session and tell me the new things they’d learnt that day, it was obvious that if I got so happy by just listening to them recount their experiences, how much more enjoyable would it be if I went myself?” (Dusre bacche sessions ke baad hamesha bahut enjoyment dikhate the, kahte the ki humne kya kya naye cheeze seekha, toh mai puchhke jaanta tha kya khel chuke uss din. Toh maine socha ki jab unke baate sunke hi itna maza aata tha toh tab jaenge aur kitna maza aayega aur bahut kucch seekhne bhi milega?) He soon came to the realisation that Project KHEL is not invested in adding to the competitive atmosphere of making children into athletes, but hoping to provide children the chance to enjoy games and sports as a fun medium that helps them “become better human beings”.

Uttam is deeply sensitive to the multiple forms of social inequality that exist around him, which makes his belief in Project KHEL’s work even stronger within his community. When we sat down to discuss his journey with the organisation back in 2016, he states that the biggest learning he has gained from Project KHEL’s 21st century life-skills based play sessions has been an increased awareness of the existing discrimination against different people in society. “I realised that many people do not wish to interact with those living in slums or those of a lower-caste, like garbage collectors. But Project KHEL  is an organisation that does not discriminate- the sessions are done with everyone together and all children are valued equally, irrespective of these categories, everyone is treated as good human being first” (Project KHEL ke didi bhaiyya sabke saath, ek saath kam karte aur sabko ek samaan maante hain, sabko ek acche insaan pehle mante hai). He suggests that this was the main motivation he had to take the initiative of teaching the children in his community the lessons he learnt in our sessions. “I believed it was necessary to pass on the messages of equality and respect to other children because in our society today there is a lot of discrimination, whereas we should treat others as equals, irrespective of their caste or body size. When this thought is ingrained in everyone, only then can our society become better (Ye dusro ko seekhana zaroori tha kyyunki hamari samaaj mein abhi bahut bhed bhav hai aur sabke vichaar dusro ki or samaan rahne chahiye, ye nahi ki koi ucch ya neech jaat hai, ya koi mota ya patla hai. Jab ye bhavna sab ke andar aa jaegi, phir hi samaaj accha ban jaegi).

Uttam also wishes to implement the non-discriminatory approach of the organisation himself now, which he argues is the need of the hour to help children unlearn problematic ways of thinking that they internalise from a young age. “Project KHEL’s work is very necessary to clean the dust that has collected in the minds of children, to awaken the humanity inside them” (Didi bhaiyya ka kaam isliye zaroorat hai kyunki baccho ke man mein jo dhool bhar gayi, usko saaf kar rahe hai aur unke andar jo insaan hai, usko jaga rahe hai).

With this in mind, Uttam decided to start teaching the children in his colony (mohalla) the same games and activities he learnt in sessions conducted at his school by Project KHEL. He remembers how they did not have a ball, so he started off by teaching them games that did not require any equipment, such as “Kho Kho and other thinking-based games where he could pass on what he learnt to children who did not go to his school and thus missed out on the chance to interact with Project KHEL”.

His attitude towards play-based learning and education is something that he passionately advocates towards the children he now teaches through his work as a Youth Leader and Youth Coach. He asserts, “I never felt like I was not learning something and could switch off my mind during sessions as a child, we were constantly questioned about our decisions and opinions and had to use our minds while playing those games, so we were gaining one type of education and learning through games”( Uss sessions mein bhi padhai ke cheeze hum log seekhte the. Sessions mein hi didi bhaiyya hume sawal pucchte the, ya dimaag lagane wale games khelate the. Isliye humne ek tarah ki padhai seekhi hai khel ke sessions se). For someone who once saw no value in sports or play time, Uttam has come a long way in becoming an educator who supports the alternative education route where children benefit from play in ways that are impossible in the classroom.

However, at the end of the day, Uttam adopts a novel approach towards this deeply consequential work that Project KHEL also tries to establish through its pedagogy- “When you’re doing any work that you’re passionate about, you need to be serious about it, but not so serious that you forget to enjoy the process or the experience! (Jab koi cheez kar rahe ho, toh serious ban raho, par itna bhi serious mat ho jao ki usse koi maza na mile).

SANTOSH

Santosh has had a long journey with Project KHEL in different capacities. Having first interacted with the organisation through our Made in Maidaan programme in early 2013, while he stayed at a shelter home for boys, he transitioned to being a part-time Youth Leader and is currently working as a Youth Leader in full time capacity.

His first impressions of the organisation were very ambiguous, where he recounts that other than looking forward to having some fun for an hour, he had no particular motivation to learn. He admits sheepishly, “If it was an activity that involved running then that seemed interesting, but when the facilitators made us engage in activities that required sitting down and thinking, I quickly lost my interest” (Agar woh daudne wale activity hote toh theek lagta tha par agar baithne wale toh nahi, bore ho jate the). He also traces the gradual changes he went through in his attitude towards the sessions from that of a disinterested child towards one who slowly learnt to trust the consistency shown by the organisation. “Initially, there were times when I just attended sessions out of formality, where I’d not want to listen to what was being communicated, but over time I got used to the routine of the facilitators coming twice a week and I slowly began to change my attitude towards them” (Kabhi kabhi formality ke wajah se khelne jaate the, itna interest bhi nahi tha Pehle pehle mai kissi ke baat sunne ke liye taiyar nahi rahta tha, par dheeme dheeme didi bhaiyya log ke aane se aadat pad gayi aur mai badalne laga).

Santosh is very clear that his behavioural changes and improved communication skills that were brought about by attending the sessions by Project KHEL, were integral for facilitating his ability to build personal relationships in the larger society as well. “After leaving the shelter home when we enter society, our behaviour becomes the most important factor for building relationships or initiating conversations. For this what matters is our tone, we should know how to hold conversations… I learnt these skills from observing the facilitators and gained an idea about its importance only through the sessions” (Ghar se nikalne ke baad, jab hum samaaj mein chale jaenge, toh sabse important humara behaviour ban jaega. Agar hume kissi se relationships badhaana hai ya kissi se pehle baar milte hue kaise baat karna hai toh sabse pehle humara tone sahi hona chahiye, usse baat karna aana chahiye… Ye saare cheeze ke baare mein mujhe Project KHEL ne hi idea diya aur maine Project KHEL ke didi bhaiyya se hi ye baat seekha).  

Santosh remembers that the sessions also helped him understand his own personality and he now traces how those learning spaces helped him recognise his personal strengths. He says, “At the shelter home, all the boys would easily get into fights while playing because they couldn’t control their excitement, but I would maintain my distance and try to maintain a positive attitude during the session, focusing my energy on the activity instead” (Humare home mein saare ladke game ke samay bahut jaldi utsahit hote and jagadne shuru karte, par mai apni doori rakhta tha aur hamesha positive tarah se games pe dhyaan rakhta tha session ke samay).

 He remembers a specific activity that he participated in as a child called ‘Discovering your Strengths’, where he remembers gaining value from complimenting and appreciating the strengths of your friends, which he considers as an important learning point because, “It’s very easy for everyone to find faults in other, but the difficulty arises in being able to identify someone’s good qualities”  (Burai to har koi karta hai, acchai dekhne mein dikat hoti hai).

So how did Santosh realise that he would find his place at Project KHEL in a more permanent capacity? “At some point, two years into attending sessions, I realised that I wanted to join the Project KHEL team someday because I was certain of one thing- I want to make children play at a job where I get to meet and interact with new people constantly” (2 saal sessions karne ke baad, meri iccha ban gayi ki mai bhi ek din PK team join karoonga kyunki mai bas itna jaanta tha ki kahi pe jaakar mujhe baccho ko khelana hai aur ye bhi tha ki isse mai naye logo se miloonga aur janoonga). In a conversation with some of the facilitators, he casually mentioned this one day and we immediately grabbed on to the spark of hope that Santosh has identified an area of interest for himself that he wanted to act on. We did not have a Youth Leader programme drawn out at that point, but around the same time, we got an opportunity to take 11 of our children for an Ultimate Frisbee training camp in Ahmedabad. Santosh was one of the children selected and this came as the biggest nudge to him to continue to trust us and his new ambitions.

Despite his initial reluctance to participate in sessions, Santosh remains very grateful that the Project KHEL team did not give up easily on him or the other boys at his shelter home. He says, “One thing that I will always appreciate is that the facilitators never expressed anger towards us, even when we would not listen, they found a funny way to get through to us, with patience and love. From a child’s perspective, if they are treated with anger, they get discouraged for the next session because they assume that they will be treated the same way again and their interest in playing will reduce” (Ek cheez o mujhe accha laga ye hai ki didi bhaiyya kabhi gusse se baat nahi samjhate the, agar hum sunte bhi nahi, un log pyar se hamesha baat karte the. Isse kya hota hai, agar hum bacche jaise sochenge toh, ek chotta bacche ko lagta hai ki har bar aise hi hoga mere saath aur isse khelne mein interest kam ho jata hai).

“This has really inspired me to carry forward the same attitude of joy and positivity as an educator myself, because I have seen and experienced the impact of this method myself!” (Mai bhi issi tarah khushi and positive banker baccho ko seekhana aur khelana chahta hoon, kyunki muhje iss attitude ka asar pata hai!)

Today, Santosh is among the most influential facilitators on the ground. The boy who was so disconnected with the group of children he was growing up with, comes up with the most relatable real-life examples for the children in his sessions. He draws from his experiences as a very (judgemental) child enrolled to our programme who decided whether he would attend a session depending on which facilitator had come on that day, in order to strengthen his facilitation with the children. Owing to this, he is both popular and impactful among the children. While he is trying to find a way to contribute to the programme at a larger level without appearing arrogant or bossy to his co-facilitators who are older and better educated than him, he uses his experiences to provide constructive feedback to them.

SUSHILA

Interviewed in December 2016

At the time of this interview, Sushila had been attending the 21st-century life skills sessions at Project KHEL for two years. Initially a very quiet and shy participant, she soon began to see the value in interacting with others in the play space. Sushila was raised to believe that it was shameful for her to interact with the opposite sex, especially in public spaces, she struggled to make friends and was deeply sensitive to others’ opinions about her. However, over the course of two years, she has learnt the importance of empathising with those weaker than her and made it her mission to educate her friends about this relevant life skill. She has gained the confidence to make new friends and improve on her social skills, while also becoming more aware of her own strengths.

Sushila remembers the excitement she’d feel for the bi-weekly sessions held by Project KHEL in her neighbourhood fondly, “I used to wish for the Project KHEL facilitators to come every day and conduct sessions with us because I began to truly enjoy playing. In addition, we get to play in a space where no one is mocked or disrespected, which I really liked” (Mera mann karta tha ki KHEL wale didi bhaiyya roz aate kyunki sacch mein khelne mein bahut maza aane laga. Yaha pe ye bhi nahi hai ki hum kissi ke mazaak udha sakte hai toh mahaul bahut accha rahta tha). She remains deeply appreciative that as someone who was shy and underconfident, she did not have to face any bullying in our sessions and adds that her favourite part of the sessions Project KHEL conducts with adolescents is how the facilitators normalise the concept of talking respectfully towards all present.

The safe learning space that was created, enabled Sushila to learn about social skills that she previously lacked, which often restricted her interactions with other youngsters. She says, “I really enjoyed the sessions from the start because it gave me the opportunity to start talking to people and making new friends, which I previously did not do. Whatever prejudices and assumptions I had been taught about others also disappeared once I began participating in sessions” (Mujhe bahut accha lagta tha kyunki uske pehle mai kissi se na bole, baat nahi karti thi, par yaha aane pe bolna pada aur dusro se dosti bhi hui. Jo bhed bhav hote, woh bhi yaha aakar hatt gaye).

One of the most important personal transformations that Sushila has undergone has been her acknowledgement that she has as much rights as her brother to play in public and improve her communication skills by forging friendships with people irrespective of their gender or sex. Hailing from a conservative family, she was largely discouraged from talking to boys and even more from playing in public spaces. “My family discouraged me from venturing outside the house unnecessarily…Initially my mother even challenged my ability to play or interact with others in the Project KHEL sessions because there would be boys present there. But gradually, I realised there is no such problem and it is goof to interact with all kinds of people. I really liked this change in myself and can now talk openly to people in public” (Ghar se bahar kahin jaane nahi milta tha, ghar ke log ghumne bhi mana karti the… Pehle mummy kehti thi ki sessions mein ladke bhhi rahenge, tum kaise bolegi? Par khel khel ke pata chala ki aisa kucch nahi hai, sabke saath milkar bolna chahiye. Ye baat mujhe bahut acchi lagi aur ab khulke hum bol sakhte hai sabke saath).

Sushila has begun passing on the life skills she has gained such as empathy, by explaining to her friends that it is not helpful to anyone when we make fun or bully others. She passionately asks, “Is there any purpose served by making fun of others, wouldn’t it be better to help them rather than make fun of their weakness?” (Kya zaroorat hai kucch bhi aise hi kehne ki? Iske alava, dusro ki help karni chahiye). She aims to help others realise the hurt they would experience if they were ever caught being bullied or mocked by others and has slowly manage to transform her friends’ attitude towards this social activity.

The biggest immediate impact of the lessons she has gained from the play-based sessions has been seen in her courage to challenge the status quo at her school, where there was previously only a boy’s kabaddi team. She says, “I felt it unfair that us girls did not have a kabaddi team to represent our school. Since I learnt the game at these sessions, I went ahead and asked our Ma’am if I could form and teach a girls team the same sport!” (School mein sirf ladke kabaddi khel sakhte the aur ye mujhe accha nahi laga toh mai isko badalne chah rahi thi. Ek din, mai apne Ma’am ko batayi ki mai khud ladkiyon ko kabaddi sikhaa sakhti hoon aur humara team bhi ban jayega aur mai iss soch ke saath aage badhi).

From being an underconfident girl, always discouraged to improve her communication skills, Sushila has developed into a young adult confident in her skills to teach those around her the skills of empathy, respect and equal rights!

SOHAIL

Sohail, a 13-year old, has been attending Project KHEL sessions since 2012. He remembers his first interaction with Project KHEL as an something that he eagerly looked forward to because it allowed him to get to know his classmates even better on the playground, at a time when he was new to the school where he is currently studying. He recounts how different the play-based sessions were as compared to other learning and sports-based spaces, in that here, everyone spoke lovingly to one another.

Sohail is deeply appreciative of the consistency shown by the organisation in coming twice a week to his school and becoming a source of stability in his life; in fact, it’s one of his favourite things about our sessions! He says, “The didi bhaiyyas would come each week, explain the rules we had to follow clearly and also always make sure they speak to us about the activity as well as what we learnt at the end.” (Didi bhaiyya jab bhi aate the, har baar games ke rule samjhate the aur end mein humse baat bhi karte the). This is also one of the biggest changes he has seen in his attitude towards sports and playing games as well. He admits, “I would not use my brains while playing games and did not bother caring about rules of the game, I only focused on having fun. But your sessions made me a better player because I learnt about skills and the rules of some of my favourite sports!” Pehle bina mann lagake khelta tha, sirf mazaa lene ke liye. Par dheere dheere mujhe samajh mein aaya ki rules se mera game aur accha ban jata hai and mai abhi aur accha player ban chuka hoon).

In addition to having become a more skilled athlete, Sohail also admits that he has now realised the value of conflict resolution. “I also want to pass on the new things I have learnt to my family and friends in my village, such as how to improve my behaviour and how to live peacefully with those around us without easily getting into fights. This is the only way our society can also improve.” (Jo kuchh didi bhaiyya hume samjhate hai, mai bhi wahi mere ghar ke log aur doston ko samjhau joh who hum sabko acchi acchi baate batate hai. Issi se humari samaaj bhi aage bahdegi). Understanding the need for conflict-resolution has helped him on a day-to-day basis in leading a less stressful life at home. At my home, there are always fights going on between my siblings, so I try to make them understand that instead of fighting, it is better for us all to sit together calmly and discuss our issues. Fighting makes the family grow apart, which is not what I want. (Mere ghar mein, hamesha mere bhai behen ke beech mein ladhai hoti rahti hai, toh mai samjhane ki koshish karta hoon ki aaram se baithkar discuss karna chahiye aur unko suljhana chahiye kyunki ladhaia se hi parivar alag ho jaata hai).

Regarding the impact of the sessions on his academic performance, Sohail happily declares that his confidence to approach his studies as a challenge that can be won has significantly increased and says, “Earlier, when I first joined this school, I used to be afraid of studying and did not even bother trying. But now, I have learnt from your sessions and realised that without putting in effort, I will not be able to pursue my studies further. I need to work hard to complete my wish to top my class this year! (Pehle, jab hum naye aaye the iss school pe, hum padhai se bahut hi darta tha aur koshish hi nahi karta tha. Par abhi, sessions karke, ye dar door ho gaya aur pataa hai ki mehnat ke bina padhai mein aage nahi badh paenge. Hum chahta hai ki hum apne class mein first aaye!).

After having attended our sessions for 3 years and gaining a deeper understanding of the purpose behind imparting a life-skills based education, Sohail in inspired to do the same. He says, “Even I wish to teach children in my village these life lessons and advice through games, as I have learnt, so that they too can make progress in life. (Mai bhi bada hokar,humare gaon ke chotte baccho ko sikhana chahta hoon aur dusro ko aise salah dena  chahta hoon, games khelte khelte, taki who bhi aage badhe.)

SAMEER

Sameer has been attending Project KHEL sessions for the last 3 years. From the start, Sameer had a positive response to the facilitators and the way in which they created safe play spaces for the children of his school. His school is in Itaunja, a village at the outskirts of Lucknow district. This fact makes Sameer very grateful to the efforts taken by the organisation to reach out to his community and for providing them the opportunity to learn through the medium of play. “I really liked that the facilitators travelled a long distance to teach us and always make sure to ask us what we’ve learnt each time”…”We would eagerly wait for the next session because we got the chance to play again” (Mujhe accha lagta tha ki didi bhaiyya aate hai door se hume seekhane aur pucchte bhi baad mein ki humne kya seekha uss din… Hum hamesha wait karte the ki didi bhaiyya kab aayenge kyunki khelne ka mauka mil jaata tha).

Despite his young age, Sameer is quite philosophical and has gained a deep understanding about the necessity of outdoor learning and its impact on mainstream academics. “Earlier I was very naughty; I used to roam around aimlessly and had no interest in applying my mind to studies. However, through these sessions I learnt that although everyone may have the right to dream, in order to achieve those dreams, it is as necessary to study and put in hard work” (Pehle hum bahut shaitan the, bahut idhar udhar tehelte the. Ye badlav isliye aaya kyunki sessions se mujhe samajh aaya ki sapne poore karne har koi ka haq hai, par usse poora karne ke liye hume padhai aur mehnat bahut zaroori hoti hai).

Other than the inspiration he got from interacting with Project KHEL in sessions to focus better on his academics, Sameer’s motivations also have negative roots related to the fear of getting punished at home for his poor academic performance. He recounts, “When I used to misbehave a lot, my parents would beat me and often yell at me. When I failed my final exams one time, my father got very angry and he warned me that without improving my academics, I won’t be able to achieve anything in life. He was upset, screamed and beat me up and eventually stopped talking to me for a while. At the same time, the facilitators would keep reminding us how hard our parents worked to make ends meet and just by being responsible for ourself and doing well in our studies, we could reduce their struggles by a bit. After understanding this, I began focusing more on my studies” (Hum jab shaitan the, toh mummy papa bahut marte the, tokhte the. Isse samay pe, hum fail bhi hue the ek baar jisse papa bahut gussa ho gaye the aur kahne lage ki padhai ke bina kucch nahi kar paoge, mehnat ka koi fayda nahi hoga. Par didi bhaiyya bhi seekhate the ki hume apne mummy papa ko pareshan nahi karna chahiye. Ye sunkar hum padhne lage aur pehle se thoda aur behtar ho chuke hai.

When asked for the reasons behind his desire to share what he has learnt from Project KHEL, Sameer shares a very simple yet effective thought process. He says, “You taught me and that made me improve, in the same manner when I teach others the same skills and lessons, they too can become better.” (Aapne mujhe seekhaya, hum sahi ho gaye, ussi tarah hum dusro ko seekhaenge, phir woh dusro ko seekhenge aur iss tarah hum sab sudhar jaenge).

 Sameer captures the ethos of ‘play-based education’ in his message on the importance of using the medium of play to help children learn life skills, “We learn about life through games. Just like we learnt the sport of Ultimate Frisbee, at the same time we began learning about important lessons on honesty and self-respect that I passed on to others around me as well” (Games ke saath, baate bhi seekhenge- Jaise frisbee seekhte acche cheeze ke baare mein pata kiya aur dusro ko batane laga… Jaise imaandari aur izzat kya hote hai).

Sameer admits that the most significant manner in which he has benefited through the interventions of Project KHEL, has been how he has learnt to dream. “Before this, I did not know how to dream, but after I began attending sessions, I realised it is possible to be ambitious and aspire to become something. I now want to join the army and find ways to help others, which will also help me earn respect in my community. (PK ke pehle hum sapne hi nahi dekhte the, sessions karne ke pehle humne kabhi soccha bhi nahi ki bade hokar hum kya banenge, par didi bhaiyya ke baato se mujhe idea mil gaya ki hum fauji ban jaenge aur dusro ki madat karenge, jisse humari izzat bhi badhegi).

ROSHNI

Interview conducted in Dec 2016

Roshni vividly remembers the first time she met the facilitators of Project KHEL right after her high school exams ended, in 2013. A shy, under-confident teenager with no belief that she could have interest or skill in anything other than academics, Roshni was very reluctant before finally making the move to attend a Project KHEL session happening in the colony she lived in.

She recounts, “I had gone with my sister Garima the first time and I remember worrying that the games would be highly technical, where you’d need to have a prior knowledge of different sports like football, since that was the game being taught that day. Since I never played any sports before that, I did not see the point in attending the session, but at the end of the session, during the debriefing with the facilitators, my sister Garima was praised for showing the most enthusiasm and for scoring a goal. I could not believe that on our first day itself, we got appreciated!” (First time, jab hum Garima ke saath gaye the aur football ho raha tha. Mai dar rahi thi ki bahut high-level ka match khelaya jata hoga aur ye saare sports bahut accha hona zaroori hai. Magar, end mein, jab debriefing ho rahi thi, toh usme Garima ki taarif hui ki usne bahut accha shot maara. Mujhe vishwas nahi ho raha tha ki hum log pehle baar aaye aur turant appreciate kiye!)

“Luckily, my parents have always encouraged us to take interest in other activities other than academics. Initially this was the reason I attended sessions, out of fear that my father would scold me for not showing interest in anything else, but later, the interest came from within me.” (Acchi baat ye hai ki humare mummy papa hamesha kahte hai ki keval padhai mat karo aur dusre cheezo mein bhi interest lo. Iss wajah se, ek do baar shuruwad mein, mai dar ke maare sessions jaati thi taki papa na daante, par baad mein mere andar khud interest aane laga). Roshni remains extremely grateful that she has supportive parents who pushed her out of her comfort zone and encouraged her try out something new that transformed her attitude towards life.

She says, “Attending sessions would refresh my mind and gave me a purpose in life beyond just studies. My passion for playing and Project KHEL’s work increased so quickly that soon I was wishing that we got the chance to attend more than two sessions in a week! (Mera mind refresh ho jata tha, zindagi mein keval padhai hai, ye soch chala gaya jab mai PK ke sessions mein khelne lagi. Jaldi jaldi mera shok itna badh gaya ki mai chahti thi ki hafte mein do baar se upar sessions hone chahiye!). Our journey with Roshni to reach this point wasn’t the easiest. She has always been the smartest person in the class and strongest academically. While working in a group with academically outstanding children like Roshni, the challenges are different. We had to be mindful of the drills we are planning, so that they are not so tough that she had to struggle, an experience that she was not used to in an educational set up and again, keeping the other games and sports enthusiast children, we also needed to keep coming up with exciting formats to keep them interested. This conscious effort to balance out experiences and cater to the needs of different children in a group is what led to Project KHEL becoming a constant in Roshni’s life and Roshni a constant in Project KHEL’s.

From being someone who had never tried sports, Roshni was one of the 11 children who Project KHEL had selected for an Ultimate Frisbee camp in Ahmedabad, with an added educational tour in Agra. This experience and more, Roshni saw the ripple effects on all spheres of her life outside the space of sessions as well. She admits, “Before, I was not confident in going to new places and would worry about how to initiate conversations with people I’m meeting for the first time… But ever since I have convinced myself that I should at least try out what is worrying me once before worrying about it first itself! (Ye assar mere relationships mein bhi pada- Har koi cheez ke liye mai confident nahi rahti thi, jaise agar mujhe kissi ka ghar jaana pada, toh jaane se pehle bahut darti thi ki wahan jaakar kaise baat karungi, naye log se milne ke pehle hamesha dar jaati thi ki mai unse kya baat karu… Magar, jab se maine PK join kiya toh, har ek cheez ko accept karna aa gaya ki haan, ek baar karke toh dekho who kaam!)

The facilitators at Project KHEL aim to create safe spaces in sessions where children feel encouraged to openly discuss their feelings and opinions, without fear of judgement. Roshni believes that this made a significant impact on her public speaking skills. She narrates, “Earlier I would be very nervous to speak at the mic at public speaking events and had bad stage presence. Today however, there is no hesitation inside me to do something like this. Participating in sessions has massively contributed towards building my confidence because that is where I learnt to speak in front of others.” (Iske alava, mujhe mic pe bolne mein bahut nervous feeling ho jaati. Bas present karke bhaag jaati thi. Magar aaj, mere andar koi jhijhak nahi rahe gayi hai, mai confidently mic pe khade hokar bol sakhti hoon. Sessions karne ke baad hi mere andar ye confidence badh gayi, kyunki logon ke saamne bolna mai wahi se seekhi thi).

This new-found confidence has also helped her unlock potential she was never aware of before, such as leadership skills that she puts to good use in her daily life. “Before I began attending sessions, I never imagined I’d take on such responsibilities in school and as a Youth Leader, in fact I would have run away from such roles! Now, although I don’t intend to become a leader in different situations, but if this has always been inside me, it cannot be silenced now.” (Sessions karne se pehle mai aise kaam karne ke baare mein socch bhi nahi sakhti thi, mai aise cheeze se door bhagti thi! Mai leader banne ki koshish nahi karti hoon, par agar ye mere andar hai, toh chhup nahi sakhti hai).

After three years of working in the center that Roshni was enrolled in, we had exhausted our curriculum and felt there was little more that we had to contribute to their overall learning. We opened a discussion with the children on how we had two options- first was to shut down operations there and second was for the senior children in the center, like Roshni, to take up leadership roles, recruit more children from the neighbourhood and run our programme for the next generation of children. They grabbed on to this opportunity and recruited children to run their own center and that is how Roshni became a Youth Leader with us.

Roshni has also gained many nuanced lessons and life skills through her work with Project KHEL as a Youth Leader, which she says has added a lot of value to her life. “People talk about teamwork, leadership, etc. which are things that anyone can teach children about. Project KHEL teaches you smaller skills, like how to adjust with limited resources and cooperation.”  (Log teamwork, leadership ke baare mein baate karte rahte hai, par ye toh har koi seekha sakhta hai. Doosre chhoti se chhoti cheez, jaise adjust karna, cheeze ko kaise baathna padega agar kami ho toh, woh mujhe PK se seekhne ko mili hai).

Having always had an innate desire to fight against inequality and injustice, Roshni believes that the life skills she has learnt from Project KHEL’s sessions have aided her in taking a stand against common acts of injustice in her life. She uses a simple example of a professor abusing their power in a classroom, which is a very common practise in the Indian education system and how she now applies methods of conflict-resolution to address it. “When I need to raise attention to an issue I disagree with, I know you can put it across to the other person in a smart way through which they don’t get offended, this is how I deal with unfair work that is given to us even in college by our professors! (Jab hume iss tarah ki baat karni hai toh ek alag tareeke se rakh sakhte hai jisse saamne wale ko bura na lage. Mai isko apni college life mein apply karti hoon jab ma’am ki baat ke upar sawal uthana chahti hoon).

The transformation from an under-confident girl to a woman willing to stand up for herself and for others, Roshni is truly a testament to the impact of life-skills education amongst adolescents. Having found some purpose in life now, she says with complete seriousness, “To be honest, if Project KHEL had not entered my life, I would have slipped into depression.” (Saaf bolu toh, agar PK meri zindagi mein nahi hoti toh mein depression mein chali jaati).

PRITY

Priti was a shy introvert girl who from being a beneficiary of Project KHEL’s intervention programme emerged as a youth leader, found a space to be herself and to become a person of her own.

Priti became a youth leader after being associated with Project KHEL’s regular sessions for over three years. Getting her to come to the sessions required much efforts as she was a young girl aged 25 in a supremely patriarchal family setup who had never stepped out of her house for anything recreational on her own. She said, (while living in her village) “Hum aise kabhi kheton ki taraf nahi jaate the, bas ghar se school aur school se ghar wapas  aate the” (I would never wander away into the fields, would only go to  school from home and back). For her going to school and coming back to the house was the norm. She never realized that she had a choice to question the prescribed norms and roles set for her by her own family and society at large. She had never gone out to play with friends, in fact, she barely had any friends.

Priti used to face extreme difficulty in socializing in general and much more so with the opposite sex. She shared, “I used to regularly go to college (under graduation) to attend lectures, where I had my fixed desk and two female friends but I never uttered even a simple Hi to any boy in my class.”

When Priti started coming to sessions she was self-conscious, very low on self-confidence, felt like she didn’t have a voice of her own, her independent thought process was clouded and she barely had the courage to speak her mind without any inhibitions. But her journey with Project KHEL was of significant change in all these aspects. After a push of couple of sessions she used to eagerly wait and look forward to the next one. Her body language changed, she became more visible in sessions as she was able to freely occupy the space provided along with other children who were much younger to her. She started shedding off her social anxiety and hesitation to mingle with other children, which made her realize that she innately enjoys making friends and being around people in general instead of just her own people.

As a beneficiary Priti felt attached to the organizations’ cause and mission and got an opportunity to teach daily wage worker’s children around Project KHEL’s office, through KHELshala programme. This initiative transformed her, she became a self-confident, courageous individual who had clarity of thought and courage to express her opinions in front of people. It was only when Priti started believing in herself her family’s perception changed. Priti shared, “KHELlshala mein kaam karne se humne baat karne ka tareeka seekha, warna toh hum mein itna confidence nahi tha ki hum bacchon ke parents’ ke saamne apni baat rakh paate.” (By working at KHELshala I’ve learned how to speak, otherwise I barely had enough confidence to even share what I feel to the parents of the children I teach).

Priti has played a very active role in getting 21 of these children admissions in a local after school programme. The entire process required helping out the families with putting together their documents and ranging for the ones who did not have them, preparing the children for the admission test, taking them to the school for their admissions, bringing them back and continuing to teach them to make them school-ready. This initiative made her a true believer in the power of education and its ability to act as a catalyst of change in an individual’s life. She now aspires to teach and help children on the streets who beg for a living. She is motivated to make a difference however small it may appear but she’s set on her journey to do so.

Priti believes her biggest learning and transformation happened through the engaged discussions at sessions where she got the affirmative push to let her guards down to express herself freely. She found her safe space in Project KHEL sessions that stimulated her self-confidence. She says the best thing about Project KHEL’s sessions is that it allows time and nurtures the most hesitant/shy children to speak up instead of just focussing on the proactive and participative ones. And that is the kind of impact she aspires to make.

Note: The interview was conducted in 2016.

NEERAJ

Neeraj’s journey has been a roller coaster ride with many tight turns leading him to emerge as a youth leader in the process. He has been associated with Project KHEL since 2013, initially as a beneficiary till 2015 and now as a youth leader to facilitate sessions with children.

Growing up in a shelter home for boys, he had major temperament issues, something which caused him to run away from home. Although his family was traced, he refused to go back as he did not agree with the violence he was subjected to at home. In the beginning, Neeraj would only attend sessions which were sport intensive and required running around while conveniently not participate in non-sport activities. After attending sessions for a few months, he got upset about an activity we facilitated that he thought was supremely boring and stopped coming to session for the next four months. Instead of rushing to get him back, Neeraj was given his space to calm down and purposefully more and more energetic and physically challenging activities began being done at the center. The other boys started to enjoy sessions more and carried on conversations into their rooms. Neeraj started getting interested in the session again, but instead of directly showing up at the session, he began by coming over as an audience and started small talks with the facilitators till eventually asking to be added back to the session and the facilitators were only happy to do that.

Gradually Neeraj started sticking around sessions for longer duration out of his interest to play and learn and that is when he started being present around discussions that used to happen after each session. He shares, “Game- game mein debriefing attend karne laga tab uski importance aur jankari ki samajh aayi” (I started paying attention to the debriefing for the heck of it and that is when I realized the importance of those conversations and the knowledge I was getting out of it.) And he believes the best part about Project KHEL is, “Khel ke madhiyam se life skills sikhana jisse bacche attract aur engage hote hain” (Using the medium of play to teach life skills so that the children remain engaged and attracted towards the programme). Children tend to learn and imbibe the learnings better through the medium of play and Neeraj is Project KHEL’s in house example of it.

Living in a boy’s shelter home, Neeraj inevitably was around boys most of the time and never really bothered about his mannerisms and conduct. It was after being a regular attendee at Project KHEL sessions he realized the value and gravity of an individual’s outward bearing or way of behaving towards others. Neeraj said, “Sessions had a huge impact on my behaviour and mannerism which indirectly opened an array of opportunities for me where I get to meet new people and continuously learn from them.” Moreover, he shares “Yahan session mein aane se mujhe khul ke aur bina kisi darr ke apne mann ki baat bolne ka mauka mila” (In the sessions, I got the opportunity to share what I thought without holding myself back out of fear). Neeraj got the space to freely express his thoughts and point of views without any fear at Project KHEL sessions which further enabled him to find a voice and exercise his choice responsibly. Neeraj took his time to realize all that was being said by bhaiya/didi was for his own benefit to accelerate his personal growth. Hence started paying more attention to what was being said and appreciates Project KHEL facilitators for their patience in his process of change.

As a youth leader now and also as beneficiary earlier, Neeraj understood the importance of “practice what you preach”. Being a beneficiary, he used to share his learnings with his friends in school. He said, “mere dost aur class ke kuch aur ladke teacher se hazir-jawabi karte the ya betameezi se jawab dete the toh main unko samjhane ki koshish karta tha ki  woh humse bade hain aur hume unse aise baat nahi karni chahiye aur khud bhi teachers ki izzat karta tha jisse woh mere mein badlaav dekh kar samjhen” (My friends would talk back to my teachers and I would help them understand that we need to show more respect because they are older than us. I would also make it a point to do the same, from my end).

Moreover, working as a youth leader has also helped him learn self-discipline and time management skills. He mentioned, “As a youth leader I have to manage my time efficiently since I have to make time for myself and my studies as well as for the children to conduct sessions. So I have learnt to switch and sail through my roles better with self-disciple which I had started practicing as a beneficiary.”

Neeraj feels very fortunate that he got the opportunity to work with children and to act as agent of change for them. He shares, “I feel I would be able to inspire children to work upon themselves and show improvement. Children can relate to me; they might see me as someone who started just like them but has changed significantly to conduct sessions for them now and it’s a great achievement for me personally.”

Neeraj went on to speak at TEDx Dharavi 2017 on the topic ‘Reimagine and Redesign Education’, along with Project kHEL’s Founder-Director, Akshai Abraham.

Note: This interview was conducted on 03/12/2016.

GARIMA

Note: This interview was conducted on 01/12/2016

Garima’s journey with Project KHEL has enabled her to be self-reflective and voice her opinions with confidence. She has been enrolled to their 21st-century life skills programme since 2013. However, when she started coming for sessions she could not grasp much about the vision of the organization, also because she had never been motivated to seek interests in games like football and volleyball. It took her over a months’ time to understand the purpose of these sessions and gain interests in attending them.  She shared, “Jab ek maheena session attend karne ke baad samajh aaya ki Project KHEL kya karta hai, aur sessions ka kya matlab hai tab main wait karne lagi ki agla session kab hoga”

In a span of three years, her journey of becoming confident and a self-assured person was remarkable. Garima got a safe space to express her views without any judgements or backlash at Project KHEL sessions which helped her in building self-confidence in her thoughts and as a person too. She felt that her voice and opinions mattered beyond the principles of right or wrong.  “Yahan sessions mein aane se humne apne vichaar khul ke vyakt karna seekha bina kisi pabandi ke. Jo hum bolte hain who galat nahi hai yeh bhi samajh aaya.” said Garima. Her parents also noticed that her communication skills had improved drastically overtime. At school, teachers would appreciate the way she explained concepts and engage in constructive discussions. Coming to the sessions had a positive impact on her where she developed leadership skills and improved body language. These qualities helped her in over-all personality development and at school she would get more encouragement and opportunities because from her teachers end.

Garima said, “Learnings from Project KHEL are like a pearl necklace, there are so many pearls and each one signifies a learning for me.” She emphasizes on how her association with Project KHEL has been instrumental in changing her life in many small yet meaningful ways. She remembers her first ever travel by train with Project KHEL to Ahmedabad and understanding the importance of taking responsibility of her belongings by herself which also made her self-dependent. “Aise jab family he saath travel karte the toh papa he humesha saare samaan ko sambhal kar rakhte the humari koi zimmedari nahi hote thi, hum toh sojate the par jab akele travel kia toh apni responsibility samajh aayi”, mentioned Garima.

She also wants to see change in people around her by sharing with her friends at schools and cousins at home whatever she had learnt from Project KHEL and as much as it’s possible in her capacity. The best things she likes about Project KHEL is that it works with children from diverse backgrounds including low income group families to middle class families and treats all of them the same. Each child is equal and matters as much irrespective of their family backgrounds. As a youth leader, Garima has been able to understand dignity of all kinds of labour and wants to treat all the children she works with equality.

ISRAR

Israr was so very comfortable in his skin that his journey of transformation was a learning process for everyone involved to let go of their own inhibitions. Being associated with Project KHEL since its inception in 2012, Israr shares memories of his initial sessions where he could barely understand what was happening. He just remembers learning football passes in his first ever session at Project KHEL. However, it was not much later that he got invested and used to eagerly look forward to the next session.

What got him interested in the sessions was the medium of play and more important the respect he got from bhaiya and didi. The respect he got helped him realize his self-worth and the fact that he matters. He shares, “Bhaiya didi log ne hume kisse kaise baat karen, unke saamne kaise khade ho sikhaya warna toh hume kuch tareeka nahi malum tha, jaise mann mein aaya waisa karte the” (BHaiya didi taught me how to speak to other people, how to stand in front of them, otherwise I did not really know any aspect of self-presentation.) It was through discussion at sessions he understood and started practicing self-discipline and showed significant development. Israr remembers, “bhaiya ne hume school uniform pehenne ki wajah bahut pyaar se batayi toh humko samjah aaya aur humne apne doston se bhi share kia jisse poori class mein discipline aaye.” (Bhaiya had lovingly shared with us the reason for having a school uniform and that is when I understood why. Ever since, I have been sharing the same with my classmates too so that they bring some discipline in how they dress up too.)

This 16-year-old innocent and hard-working boy emerged as youth leader because he was always curious to pass on and share his learnings with others in order to help them grow. At his age he was able to see beyond himself and took collective responsibility of children in his village, he wanted to share all that he has learnt himself so that there is more goodness in society. Once, when Israr was 14 years old, the children in his village ruined the only Volleyball they had, Israr took it upon himself to get the group of players together to work as labour in the fields and houses of other people to gather enough money to buy another Volleyball for themselves. This ability to mobilize people to participate in actions that lead to a collective good is an incredible thing for a  14 year old to inspire.

Israr had no pretence in him, he very early on understood and manifested the importance of being invested in what one does to see positive outcomes. Just as he had learnt from didi/bhiaya in sessions he wanted to pass on the same vibes of happiness and learning in his sessions, “Bhaiya/didi hume ek ghante ke session mein ek hafte ki seekh aur khushiyan de jate the waise he hum bhi karna chahte hain”

His journey marks that often many of us need respect to realise our own value and strengths to seek purpose as well as meaning in our lives.  Moreover, each one of us has the power to facilitate change around us in order to make world a better place.

As Israr turned 18, he began working as a Full-Time facilitator in Project KHEL’s 21st century life skills programme, while continuing his graduation in a long-distance format. Alongside, he has been coaching a team of Ultimate Frisbee players in his village, introducing the concept of self-discipline and equality among his players. This initiative got him into trouble when he got beaten up by a group of upper caste boys who objected to being treated in the same manner as the other children from the lower castes. However, with support from the community and belief in his value and his work, Israr bounced back in action continuing his coaching in a different corner of the village.

Note: This interview was conducted in 2016.

BUNTY

Note: This interview was conducted on 05/12/2016

Bunty dreams of educating as many children as he can to help them become the best version of themselves and inculcate all the good around that is possible. He wants to persuade and inspire children to do better for themselves.

Bunty is 15 years old and had been associated with Project KHEL since 2013. When Bunty came for his first Project KHEL session ever, he was clouded by fear, thinking if he happens to do something wrong (unintentionally) bhaiya would end up scolding or even hit like teachers at school would do.  It was once this fear subsided his interest peaked up in sessions and he became quite participative as well exhibited significant behavioural improvements.  Bunty shares, “ School mein agar kabhi galti hoti hai toh teacher bina zada soche chillate-maarte hain par Project KHEL ki sabse acchi baat mujhe yeh lagti hai ki galti hone par bhi yahan pyaar aur aaram se samjhate hain. Jisse baat samajh bhi aati hai aur shanti se samjahyi hui baat ka asar zaroor padta hai jaise mujh par hua aur saath he sudhaar bhi hota hai” (If we made mistakes in school, the teachers would blindly hit us and shout at us but at Project KHEL, what I love best is how even if we have made a mistake, things are explained to us with affection and patience. This doesn’t just help us understand our mistake but is also effective in helping us make changes and create stronger impact.)

Project KHEL’s medium of play turned out to be very effective in Bunty’s transformational journey. He said, “Mera dimaag ekdum dhul se jama hua tha, session mein aane se dhul hati aur polish hone laga” (My mind was clouded and ever since coming to the sessions, I was able to dust the cloud away and polish my mind too).

Soon, Bunty made a responsible choice to not use abusive language, he was able to realize that he had picked it up from the people around him as a learned behaviour without even understanding what it means.  Coming to Project KHEL sessions helped him in taking responsibility of what to say and how to say to express himself in a positive manner. As a youth leader, “My dream is that no child should become like how I was earlier – bad and abusive,” said Bunty. He also understood and got various opportunities in sessions as a beneficiary to work upon himself to inculcate qualities and skills like empathy, concentration, patience and being attentive. This also helped him in realizing the value and potential that education holds for each one as well as notable academic improvement for him. Recognition and appreciation of Bunty’s effort at sessions by Project KHEL bhaiya and didi motivated him to consistently work upon himself. He said, “Didi-Bhaiya log shabashi dete the jab hum log mein sudhaar dekhte the, islie hum koshish karte the ki kuch na kuch accha karte rahen, aisa aur koi nahi karta tha.”  (The didis and bhaiyas would appreciate us when they saw positive changes in us, that is why I kept trying to continue to do better. No one else appreciated us this much.) He proactively shared his learnings as well as experiences with his friends at school and in the neighbourhood to facilitate positive growth culture for them.  Initially, because of Project KHEL, Bunty wanted to become a sportsperson but later he realized that Project Khel’s mission was more about educating kids on life skills and preparing them for life, than just sports really. This realization filled him with immense happiness and he aspires to assist in the process through his role as a youth leader now.

Despite the commendable growth that Bunty has shown in his journey with Project KHEL, his family went through a financial crisis with his father’s income taking a massive cut after demonetization and his roadside shop being removed. The pressure at home to stop studying and start earning caused stress and Bunty was forced to stop working with Project KHEL as a part time Youth Leader and help out with work at home and with his father and also affected his performance in his 12th exams. Senior team members from Project KHEL are sponsoring his college education, much against the intention of the family, which has brought back hope into his life, allowing him to fight back against the pressures in his situation. Currently, Bunty is working with Project KHEL as a Youth Coach running an Ultimate Frisbee center in his Community.

ANSHU

Note: This interview was conducted on 04/12/2016

Fifteen-year-old Anshu has been enrolled with Project KHEL for over three years now. Since the very beginning he had enjoyed sessions and looked forward to them each week. He shared, “I used to wait for the sessions to happen, that one hour used to be pure happiness for me”. (Main hamesha session ka intezar karta tha. Wo ek ghanta humare liye sabse khushi wali hoti thi.)

Anshu, before coming for Project KHEL sessions was not really motivated to help and practice empathy with others. He mentioned, “Project KHEL taught me how to help other people, like I would never bother to voluntarily help an old person to cross the road earlier.” Anshu now tries to be sensitive and observant in practicing simple acts of help that he could possibly lend to others in his daily routine life. He is now more thoughtful and believes in co-existence by helping one another. For Anshu one of the best things about Project KHEL is the way its sessions teach the value of helping others. Project KHEL focuses on helping kids who need it most and kids who do not necessarily attend school which he kinds unique.  This effort helps kids create visions for their future that would not have been possible otherwise. He emerged as a Youth Leader at Project KHEL and used to enjoy sharing what he had learnt himself with children. “I was inspired to work with children because of what the didi-bhaiyya have done for me – they helped me grow so why can’t I help others?” said Anshu.

The organization’s use of play and activity-based education worked effectively in facilitating Anshu’s journey of change. He understood the importance of self-discipline on body language and behaviour in public spaces. He said, “School mein batate the kaise khade hona hai kaise baat karna hai par tab humne kabhi itna dhyaan nahi diya, Jab Project KHEL ke bhaiya/didi ne khel-khel mein sikhaya toh ab dhyaan dene lage hain aur importance bhi samajhte hain ki aisa karna kyun zaroori hai.”  (In school, we were often told how to stand or how to talk, but it never registered with me as well as it did when Project KHEL began sharing the same messaging through play.” Coming for sessions regularly also had a positive impact on Anshu’s academic development, “Session mein aane se dimaag fresh hojata hai aur padahi mein zada mann bhi lagta hai” (Joining the sessions used to freshen my mood and I was able to focus better on my studies.)

Project KHEL has encouraged Anshu to be resilient and never give up hope. He said, “In the future I have to work through problems towards my goals despite there being ups and downs in life, I want to join the army and continue being a part of Ultimate Frisbee.” He adds, “No matter what I do, I will never give up on my goals, because at Project KHEL I have learnt to believe in myself and that destinies can be changed.”  Believing in oneself in the time of difficulties gives each of us the power to not just settle but stir movement and change, Anshu is set on his journey to do so.