• A Haven of Hope

    CAC India Team Leader Jamie and Community Impact Coach Benny have been working in rural communities near the city of Pune this week, with Maher – an NGO that provides shelter to underserved women, children and men across the Indian state of Maharashtra. 

    Maher means ‘Mothers Home’ in Marathi; a place of belonging, understanding and acceptance. For over 20 years, Maher has opened their doors and provided shelter for many of those in need – providing a place to sleep, eat and live while also sending them to school. Currently, they provide a place to call home for 960 children, 170 women and 60 older men. They heard about CAC through our Accredited partner Slum Soccer and wanted to learn about #PurposefulPlay and how it could benefit their children. To tie in with Maher’s core values of acceptance and education, we delivered a programme focused on UNSDGs: 4 (Quality Education), 5 (Gender Equality) and 10 (Reduced Inequalities).

    Our programme was split into two parts – in the mornings we would travel to one of Maher’s other homes in very rural areas, and deliver some fun #EducationOutsideTheClassroom sessions to children and women who had never experienced #PurposefulPlay before. These were introductory sessions that we had a lot of fun with – this new style of learning was greatly enjoyed and each time we left they would ask when they could play more games! At CAC, Sustainability is at the core of everything we do – so to ensure long term impact we always work with the teachers, coaches and in this case social workers to provide them the skills so that these kids can continue learning and having fun, even after we’ve left.

    This is where our evening sessions come into the picture, where we worked with around 30 social workers on topics that they felt were most relevant to them. Gender Equality (#UNSDG5) and Reduced Inequalities (#UNSDG10) came up often, so we played many games from our #ASKforChoice curriculum. These social workers had also discussed these topics with the children, but had never considered that using sport was possible and the best way to engage them in difficult conversations.

    It was a very successful programme with Maher, now enthused about #EducationOutsideTheClassroom and already inviting us back! My personal highlight is that we managed to involve some of the older orphaned children in the programme, one young man at the end said ‘everyone has always told me I can’t do stuff, but CAC told me I can and encouraged me’. Sustainability has many forms, and supporting someone to find some self-belief so that they can continue believing in their self, is sustainability that matters.