Sport as a driver for social and economic development
Once upon a time, most sports were for boys or men, and for those who could afford them. Yet today sport has proven to be much more than just a source of entertainment for a select few.
Its potential to empower people of all ages, to enable physical, mental, and emotional well-being, and to develop values such as motivation, consistency, and teamwork, has led it to be recognized as an effective tool for promoting peace and progress by the United Nations.
In January of this year, ARaymond India teamed up with the Bovelander foundation, a non-profit organization that implements hockey programs in underprivileged areas around the world, to launch the Maharashtra Grassroots Hockey Program. The Maharashtra Grassroots Hockey Program, designed and run by the Bovelander Foundation, with Dutch Olympic Gold medalist and World hockey champion Floris Jan Bovelander at its head, will teach hockey to 3 000 students from 50 schools in the Maharashtra area by 2025.
ARaymond India is the first company in the area to partake in this project. As Ranjana Gaikwad, Senior CSR Manager of ARaymond India says, “we hope to inspire other companies to participate in this program. The more we are in supporting this type of program, the more progress we make, it’s that simple.” ARaymond India is financially supporting the project by funding each child’s equipment, the coach’s fees, and the festivities that will be organized each year.
Gaikwad goes on to explain, “when we recruit children for this program, we pay particular attention to guaranteeing a fair split between boys and girls and we pay no attention at all to cast, religion, or background. We see only the child and her or his potential for growth and joy. And we don’t only get the children involved. We invite the parents to learn the health and hygiene principles taught and to embark on this journey of development with their children.”
And because progress achieved deserves to be celebrated, next January a competition and a festivity for all the participants will be held. Rewarding efforts and having a good time all together is also part of the process!
Gaikwad concludes, “we’re enjoying every step of this adventure, and looking forward to seeing the children, parents, our communities, and ourselves, grow all together. It’s our responsibility to lead by example and to engage with levers like sport that can help our less privileged communities to progress from the ground up.”
By Mara Saviotti
Communications and Press Relations