As part of the first edition of Chowgule Conversation series, Abhijeet Barse, CEO of Slum Soccer, an organization which instills dignity and confidence in the lives of underprivileged children through the medium of football delivered a talk at Chowgule College today.
Chowgule Conversations is a series of inspirational stories told by everyday people who have done extraordinary things. The series is an attempt to share the personal stories of people who have gone out of their way to make a change in the lives of others.
Founded by Abhijeet’s father Vijay Barse, a retired sports teacher from Nagpur, Slum Soccer’s mission has been to reach out to homeless kids using the wonderful game of football as a tool for social improvement and empowerment. It all began over a decade ago when Vijay Barse saw a bunch of slum kids playing the game of football in the rain using a broken bucket! He decided to train the children in the sport. What started as a few football classes in Nagpur’s slums termed ‘jhoparpatti football’ by the kids eventually turned into Slum Soccer.
Said Abhijeet Bharse CEO, Slum Soccer, “I am very impressed by the open minds and willingness towards my initiative of Slum Soccer from the students and management of Chowgule College. The enthusiasm has now triggered plans to try and bring my module of slum soccer to Goa with the help of Chowgule College”.
Today Slum Soccer operates in 63 districts across the country bringing positive influence to the lives of over 70,000 men, women and children. The organization conducts football coaching camps, training sessions, healthcare workshops and personality development sessions and slum soccer tournaments for underprivileged children. Through the sport, Slum Soccer has helped thousands of young people bring dignity into their lives. The slum soccer team represents India each year at the Homeless World Cup.
Abhijeet is the first Indian to be elected as a board member of Street Football World at the general assembly held in Lyon, France last year. Street Football World is a worldwide known organization having presence in over 50 countries. FIFA and UEFA are among some of the esteemed organizations which are in collaboration with Street Football to support the homeless and the underprivileged around the globe for a better future.
Said Dr. R. V Gaonkar, Principal, Chowgule College, “This year we have started with a new initiative – Chowgule Conversations. This series is an attempt to share personal stories of inspiration with our students. We believe personal stories are a powerful medium of communication. We’d like the students to know about the many roadblocks individuals may have faced along the route to professional and personal success and how they overcame them.”
Chowgule College has over the years invited various achievers from across the country to interact with its students. Chetan Bhagat, Nandita Das, Viswanathan Anand and Geet Sethi among others have been speakers at the college.