An OSCAR boys’ team from low income communities in Mumbai was selected from hundreds of enthusiastic contenders in January 2019 for the third OSCAR UK Football Tour. Most of the boys did not own a birth certificate, so the complicated process of applying for passports and visas began immediately. As well as practising hard on the pitch, with coach Kumar Rathod, the boys attended compulsory English language classes, delivered by our UK volunteers. (could link this)
In April 2019 OSCAR’s Ashok and Lucinda spent two weeks visiting the host schools, delivering assemblies, geography lessons and slum style football training, inspiring the pupils to fundraise and plan an immersive, educational, cultural and sporting programme for the visitors. The tour raises sufficient funds to cover the costs of flights and visas and to support OSCAR’s ongoing work in India. Sheldon School provided in excess of 50 laptops for the computer centre!
The tour was hosted by 10 schools. The boys were overwhelmed to arrive at Marlborough College to rapturous applause, which set the tone for the rest of the 15-day tour. The school ‘buddy’ scheme ensured the boys were fully integrated into college life making friends for life. Activities were plentiful, new experiences were abundant. They delivered assemblies to audiences of up to 800, attended practical science lessons, design & technology, astronomy and mathematics, they learnt to swim, wall climb, played volleyball on the beach, pushed boundaries at Go Ape and reached the skies on the London Eye.
A high light was a weekend hosted by Arsenal Academy, playing football with academy players and attending their first ever Premier League game in the Emirates Stadium with ex England Captain, Tony Adams. They were honoured to have Sophie, HRH The Countess of Wessex supporting their match against Eton College.
The boys performed well on the pitch in challenging weather conditions, they learnt new skills, made new friends and overcame their nerves to share their inspiring and challenging stories in front of hundreds of pupils.
Personal development is key and the OSCAR team did not disappoint. They grew in confidence, improved their English and discovered the importance of education. Young men who had barely found their voices learnt to speak out and proudly share their goals and ambitions. Since returning to Mumbai the boys have become role models, joined in further academic courses and are mentoring young OSCAR beneficiaries. The future starts here for the OSCAR boys and all the UK pupils!