Do you want to dance, asked an enthusiastic Swarnamalya Ganesh to a group of children dressed in their football jerseys and shorts. “What do you need to play soccer?” she asked again. “Hands! Legs! Eyes!” shouted the children. “That is all what you need to dance too,” she said, as the volunteers from Slum Soccer and Ranga Mandira showed them a few dance steps which began with football moves. Soon, everyone at the stadium including the coaches were dancing to the tune.
The event Rhythm of the body through movements was organised on September 29, in Chennai for a group of young soccer aspirants by Ranga Mandira Academy of World Dance/Performance and Indic Studies, founded by Dr Swarnamalya Ganesh with Slum Soccer, an NGO.
Founded in 2003, Slum Soccer uses football as a tool to improve the status of underprivileged football aspirants and also provides them more opportunities in the sport. It takes care of 1,200 children in Tamil Nadu alone. The members go to various slums in the areas they work, talk to the community leaders and organise tournaments in the locality, which the children can join. Slum Soccer was a big boon for Sonali Parsawar, 20, who was introduced to the game by a friend. “I’m so inspired by the game that I could never stop playing it. In our village, we in fact go to every house and call the children to play the game,” she says.
The various sarcastic rants from the corner saying that football isn’t for girls are not strong enough to stop Sonali and the other girls from playing the sport.
Reach Out: slumsoccer.org/