Mumbai: In partnership with the OSCAR Foundation, Everton and the Premier League launched Mumbai’s first football project for Children with Disabilities on 26 October 2018.
The disability project is supported by the Premier League’s International Development Fund in partnership with Streetfootballworld — an international ‘Football for Development’ charity. This funding from the Premier League will benefit 30 young coaches and 100 children and young people with disabilities in Mumbai.
Ashok Rathod, Founder and Director, OSCAR Foundation says, “In India, Children with Disabilities often face exclusion and discrimination. Limited access to education, sports, and related infrastructure affects their well-being and limits their opportunities. We believe that Children with Disabilities have the potential to excel in any field of their choice and sports can contribute to developing that spirit. Through our partnership with Everton and Premier League, we aim to spread awareness on disability issues in India and encourage people to build a positive attitude towards Children with Disabilities.”
OSCAR coaches and Young Leaders were trained by Everton’s Disability Manager Steve Johnson and Everton in the Community Disability Development Coach Jessica McNally over a period of one week in Mumbai.
Everton in the Community’s Disability Coach Steve Johnson says, “The OSCAR Foundation does very similar community work to Everton in the Community, so there is a lot of synergy between the two organisations. Everton has a well-respected disability programme and this project promises to be a catalyst for an excellent new collaboration. There is some clear difference between the issues that people with disability face in the UK and India, but using football as a tool is a great way of engaging people with disability who lack opportunities and are often marginalised and discriminated against.”
While the OSCAR Foundation has been engaging Youth with Disabilities in all their programmes so far across India, this training with Everton in Community and Premier League will prepare OSCAR Foundation’s coaches and Young Leaders with more effective techniques to engage Children with Disabilities. As a part of this project, regular inclusive football sessions and an annual football festival with disabled and non-disabled children will be organised by OSCAR Foundation to promote inclusion and equality.