Malvern College is to play host to a group of young footballers living in hardship in the slums of Mumbai after pupils raised £6,000 to help fund the trip.
The school, in Worcestershire, will host 16 boys and girls in a visit organised by the OSCAR Foundation. The visitors will take part in a host of activities, including football matches against Malvern College’s girls’ and boys’ teams.
The two-week visit, which will take in Malvern between 13-15 October, is the first time a mixed team of under-16s has taken part in the programme.
Keith Metcalfe, Malvern College headmaster, said: “We are honoured and delighted to be hosting the children from the OSCAR Foundation Football and Education Tour. It is a fantastic scheme that gives the boys and girls involved the opportunity to meet new friends and inspire them to stay in education.
“I am very proud of the pupils from our OSCAR Group, who raised £6,000 towards this year’s tour. Since 2017, our pupils have raised £30,000 in support of this brilliant cause.”
The children supported by the foundation live in overcrowded slum communities and rural villages, with no running water or facilities. Most community homes measure approximately 3m2 housing families of eight or more.
The OSCAR Foundation was founded by Ashok Rathod, who grew up in the second largest slum in Mumbai. His mission was to teach children about education. He quickly identified football as the tool of engagement, implementing one rule, No School, No Football. OSCAR now has over 7,000 children regularly attending school and has impacted the lives of 14,000 children since 2010.
The UK School Tours are a key programme for OSCAR, creating life changing opportunities, raising funds and aspiration. Around 700 hopeful children turned up for the 2023 trials. On selection the first task for the OSCAR staff is to get the children a birth certificate, a complicated process when parents have no official papers. The passport process is equally challenging.
Lucinda Sowerbutts, from OSCAR International said: “The OSCAR UK Tour programme is at the heart of OSCAR’s work. Creating opportunities, inspiring and motivating underprivileged young people to value education. The tour alumni continue to amaze us, not only with their personal success but the impact they have on their community.”