An initiative partly funded by BT Supporters Club has won a prestigious Fifa diversity award.
Slum Soccer, which fights homelessness and improves living conditions in some of India’s poorest areas, were chosen to receive the accolade by a high-profile 11-strong jury comprising global experts in tackling discrimination and renowned figures from world football.
Using football as a tool of social empowerment to transcend race, religion, language and gender barriers, Slum Soccer promotes the development of the most marginalised sectors in India and are committed to fighting homelessness and improving living conditions in disadvantaged areas.
The organisation’s approaches are centred on building self-sufficient communities and in the last 10 years, 70,000 men, women and children have benefited from livelihood training, healthcare workshops and more.
“For the past 14 years, Slum Soccer has worked primarily with socially excluded youths and we use football as a tool to engage with them,” said Abhijeet Barse, who received the reward on behalf of the organisation.
“Most of these participants come from very marginalised areas and we want to make sure they are part of society.
“We use football to give them a platform, engage with them and slowly channel them back into society. Once you have their attention through football, it’s easier to pass on messages. With the award, it makes us feel that the work that we’ve done so far is reaching people.”
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