Last term dozens of out-grown football shirts were collected from the parents and pupils at Shoreham College and donated to the Oscar Foundation, a charity that works with over 3,000 children across Mumbai and India.
The charity, founded by Ashok Shankar Rathod in 2006, uses football to instil the value of education and empowers underprivileged children with life-skills to take responsibility for their community development.
On receiving the donated shirts Ashok sent a personal message of thanks to the pupils of Shoreham College, “knowing kids elsewhere in the world care means a lot; we are so grateful to you and your school for helping”.
The request for the shirts was made by the father of Year 7 pupil Ben Trigg, who was planning to make the trip, with his sons, to Mumbai to help coach the kids at the Foundation and present the shirts to them personally.
Jon Trigg spoke about why he felt the need to take his boys to experience the Mumbai slums. “I had previously visited in December and saw how positive and happy the people were and just knew I had to take the boys. The motivation for me was for them to see how the other half live, and understand that the lives we live are not a right, but a privilege and that happiness cannot be bought. Some of the boys in the photo’s live on the streets, the lucky ones share a room with up to nine other family members but, as you see, their smiles are infectious.”
The family returned to England inspired by this truly humbling life experience. “We were all blown away with Ashok and everyone at the Oscar Foundation and we will be going back on an annual basis to spend time in the community and try to help.”
Mr Trigg is currently looking to set up fundraising activities to pay for a coach and extra space, which they are in desperate need of, and hope to be involved with an initiative to bring some of the kids over to play football against UK schools in October.
Further details about the charity can be found here: http://www.oscar-foundation.org/