Our latest on-field programme is with the incredible Sports With a Mission (SWAM) India team, who have been using Purposeful Play in Bangalore to raise awareness of Mental Health. Delivered by Superstar CIC Benny and his wife Nandini, Team SWAM continue to show the power of Education Outside the Classroom…
Sports With A Mission (SWAM) is a non-profit organization based in Bangalore, India. We teach life skills through sports for vulnerable population. SWAM teaches education outside the classroom through purposeful play and we encourage self-directed learning, through which we address the United Nations Sustainable Developmental Goals #3, 4 and 5, which focus on General Health and Wellbeing, Quality Education and Gender Equality.
In partnership with CAC, we decided to deliver a program to 15 participants, so we could comply with local government restrictions. The only thing that was on our mind is which group to reach out to for the program because our regular football club players had exams. We contacted young man named Vimal who has a dance studio, as he had reached out to us earlier to conduct some workshops for his students. He was very eager and excited and immediately put together a group of 14 members.
The preparations for the event began by clearing out the ground and trying to make it as even as possible to avoid injuries. The next thing was to see if we had all the resources for the event. We went shopping for refreshments, balls, bibs and markers. We created posters and banners for the program and got our first standee made to showcase what work we do. We did a little research about getting in mobile toilets but they were too expensive and there was a lack of water at the venue. The day before the event we took all our material right from tables, chairs, first aid kits, water cans and drinking water in our small car. We were shocked to see the number of things that fit into it.
Finally, the day to begin the event, it rained the previous day and the whole ground was slushy. There was a lot of anxiety because we were unsure of the participants showing up. When we saw them enter it was clear to us that most often we live with assumptions the reality is very different. The participants came with an empty mind because they did not know what our sessions would be like and were surprised at the end of the first session as to how games can make us understand so many issues that are otherwise swept under the carpet. The participants enjoyed the Playing with Distance games, a serious discussion happened after the Balancing Emotions because most of them would not express other emotions apart from happiness due to shame, fear of judgment and labeling, fear of losing a friend, discomfort within the group. After the program they realized the importance of expression and communication, most of them are ready to make a change and will try to implement what they have learnt in the program. The group is interested in continuing their relationship with SWAM with more such workshops every quarter.