Bureaucracy India | News Magazine | Adminstrative of Governance | Top Bureaucrats “Sport for me is the best tool for Social Engineering” | bureaucracyindia.in
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Saturday 18th August 2018

“Sport for me is the best tool for Social Engineering”

Stairs came into being in 1997, asapnt_3 a beacon of hope and encouragement to the underprivileged youth who were suffering due to poverty, ignorance and low self-esteem and were wasting their lives and talents for lack of proper guidance and education. STAIRS was instituted to address the needs of such youth and involving them in the development process. In 2005, STAIRS was formally registered to build capacities of under privileged through grooming them in Sports.
In an exclusive interview with the Owner, Mr. SiddharthUpadhaya, we have got to know about the workings of the NGO, the management, its supporters, and the deprived children who are getting the opportunity to get themselves trained by Industry’s best sports personnel.

Q1. How did the idea of Stairs strike you? When did you start the NGO “Stairs”?
I recognized the benefit of sports at a very young age. I understood how it positively impacted my thought process and my personality. That is what inspired me to start Stairs.
Sport for me is the best tool for social engineering. When you play a sport, all that matters is your talent. The colour of your skin, religion, caste, and creed cease to matter on the play field. It is this thought process that needs to be implemented even in day to day lives. In a world which is marred by religious intolerance and divisions on the basis of class, caste and sex, sports can play a vital role in changing the mindsets of the young. We want them to understand that talent and hard work are the only roads to glory, of course a little bit of luck is needed. There is, in my understanding, no better way to inculcate that spirit than sports. And, since the young mind is easy to mould, it becomes even more imperative that these values are inculcated from a young age.
I started Stairs in the year 2000. During the initial phase, I was working alone to promote the cause. Gradually well-wishers, friends and volunteers got behind me and provided whole hearted support in this endeavor. The NGO grew from strength to strength and finally in 2005, it was registered.
Stairs was founded with a motive of standing beside those thousands of underprivileged children whose dreams never turned into a reality due to their status quo. We have been working with such children since the time of inception and have been trying to identify the genuine problems faced by the deprived communities and their children.

Q2. In which areas does Stairs work in Delhi?
Stairs works in the Sports, Education and Health sector. At present, our main focus is on sports as we feel and a lot of good work is already being done in the Health and Education sector by other like-minded organizations.We intend to diversify ourselves into the other two areas as well, but in the long-run.

Q3. What sort of activities does Stairs believe in?
Stairs sees itself in the role of a catalyst to enable the youngsters reach their full potential and help build personalities. We enable them the marginalized youth, their families, and communities to connect with the mainstream by providing sports as a
We encourage the children to grow on their own and find their own calling in life. We are not into providing or promising livelihood opportunities.
However, many of our children have been selected for national teams and they continue to grow and nurture themselves and their families through hard work and talent.
A brief description of our programs is as under:

A. UflexKheloDilli

  • UflexKheloDilli is a sports initiative designed especially for underprivileged youth with the aim to provide them free access to sports equipment, infrastructure and space. While encouraging children to just play, UflexKheloDilli identifies and acknowledges their hidden talents and provides a platform for exhibiting them.
  • It is a philanthropic endeavor jointly undertaken by Stairs and Uflex, India’s largest flexible packaging company. The aim of the program is to provide free of cost – space, infrastructure and sports equipment to the less fortunate children of the society, to play.
  • It was conceptualized in 2011 with the objective is to infuse fun in playing, inculcate passion for sports and competition.
  • Currently, more than 15,000 children across Delhi are regularly playing at 29 UflexStairs centers which have been established near the colonies where these children reside. Today, these centers have emerged as a hub of recreation for children from poor families’ economic background and ignited passion for playing in other as evident from increasing number of children getting enrolled at these centers.
  • In 2013, Stairs has kick-started its football initiative-Football for Change, under UflexKheloDilli Program.
  • The Stairs Interstate National Volleyball Championship was also recently concluded on 28th June, 2014.

B. Stairs Khelo Haryana

  • l Khelo Haryana is aimed at providing free of cost – space, infrastructure and sports equipment to the less fortunate children.
  •  The idea is to encourage young children to simply come out and play and enjoy themselves.
  • First phase of this project covers Sirsa, Fatehabad&Narwana.
  • In the first phase, Stairs is opening 250 centers including 50 centers of SepakTakraw.
  • In second phase, Stairs will introduce Cricket &Kabaddi.
  • l In third phase, Hockey and Football will be started.

C. Stairs Khelo Himachal

  •  Khelo Himachal is resolved to connect underprivileged youth with main stream of the nation building.
  • Stairs set up 15 centers covering more than 100 villages of Himachal Pradesh.
  • As a part of Stairs Khelo Himachal, altogether 6 sports were undertaken including Volleyball, Football, Hockey, Kabaddi, Basketball and Handball

D. Stairs Khelo Uttar Pradesh

  •  With Stairs Khelo Uttar Pradesh, Stairs has extended a hand towards the especially-abled youth of our country by empowering them through sports.
  • Stairs has opened 4 Sports Centers in Uttar Pradesh.

E. Stairs4ability

  • Stairs has opened one of its kind Cricket academy for differently abled children at Sports Stadium, Ravindra Nagar Dhoos, Padrauna, Kushinagar, UP.
  • In March 2013, Stairs had organized a cricket camp for specially-abled children at Sports Stadium, Kushinagar, Uttar Pradesh.
  • Over 200 differently-abled children were seen in action during the camp.
  • Some of these players were selected for the Uttar Pradesh Cricket Team for Differently Abled.

F. Stairs Khelo Jharkhand

  • The program was flagged off on January 19, 2014 from Dhanbad.
  • The program will cover 67 Gram Panchayats and 112 villages with a population of more than 5.5 lakh.
  • KheloDhanbad aims to provide the youth of the region with access to playing facilities and equipment for five games: Volleyball, SepakTakraw, Cricket, Hockey and Football.
  • The project will be completed in three phases.
  • In the first phase, Stairs will open 50 sports centers in and around Dhanbad which will provide facilities for playing Volleyball and SepakTakraw.
  • Cricket and Hockey will be introduced in the second phase and Football will be the last game for which playing gear and facilities will be provided.
  • Stairs will also launch a scholarship program for players to be selected from the sports centers in the villages. The scholars will provide a platform to the youngsters to polish their skills.

G. Stairs SombhadraKheloMahotsav

  • Stairs Sombhadra Khel Mahotsav is a state-level sporting event organized in Una, Himachal Pradesh.
  • It witnessed participation of more than 1600 children in 2011 and 2012.
  • Sports event include 14 games – Athletics, Volleyball, Basketball, Football, Handball, Swimming, Table Tennis, Badminton, Wrestling, Kabaddi, Judo, Hockey, Chess, Lawn Tennis, Shooting.

H. Uflex Stairs Cricket Scholarship

  • Stairs has been regularly organizing Cricket Scholarship Camps for underprivileged children.
  • The camps are organized with the aim to identify and train talented underprivileged youth.
  • Selected students are supported by sports and educational scholarships and training.
  • So far close to 80 talented youth have been granted the Uflex-Stairs Cricket Scholarship

I. Uflex Stairs Cricket Championship

  • Stairs has been regularly organizing Cricket Championships for underprivileged children.
  • The Championship is aimed at providing a platform to underprivileged children to showcase their skills and talent.
  • It witnesses participation of around 20 teams in Under-14 and Under-16 category, every year.
  • Participating teams are from 5 states- Delhi, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, and Himachal Pradesh.
  • Talented children are provided coaching, sports scholarship and sports gear.

J. Hockey for Growth

  • Hockey for Growth is an initiative by Stairs along with former captain of Indian Hockey team, Mr. DilipTirkey to connect Bharat with India.
  • As a part of ‘Hockey for Growth’ program, Stairs will distribute 100,000 Hockey sticks among underprivileged youth across the country.
  • The program also envisages organization of grass-root level tournaments, selection of players for scholarship programs, facilitation of the selected players in the State and National Hockey teams.
  • To accomplish this, individuals, corporate and other institutions are expected to come forward and extend their support towards the cause in their capacities

K. MahilaGoshtis- Legal Awareness Camps, Sirsa

  • The objective of conducting MahilaGoshtis is to mobilize the women of Sirsa and Fatehabad districts in Haryana and increase their awareness on issues related to governance, women rights and government schemes which directly or indirectly affect them and their families.
  • Three villages in Sirsa — Jamaal, ResaliaKhera and Rori — were selected to conduct these goshtis.
  • The fundamental rights are explained via pictures and thereafter the movie, BolBasanto, a movie on the Right to Information is screened which helps in better understanding of the rights.

L. Handloom Project

  • The project aims at supporting rural women weavers in Sirsa and Fatehabad districts of Haryana with adequate trainings and modern equipment to produce marketable products effectively and efficiently.
  • Training is being provided to these women under schemes of Ministry of textile such as Integrated Handloom Development Scheme and Integrated Skill Development Scheme but there is limited support in procurement of looms under these schemes.
  • This project aims at providing 23 modern technology looms to women groups across the 2 districts.
  • ONGC has taken the responsibility of providing necessary funds for procurement of 23 units to the identified vendor.

M. Stairs Against Drugs(SAD)

  • Stairs uses sports to keep the young away from drugs and help them channel their energies for personal and economic growth.
  • We at Stairs have observed that children and youth who are out of school or have no extra-curricular activities are especially prone to being enticed by drug dealers.
  • As the first step we shortlist areas where the problem exists or can arise. We visit the areas and connect with the youth.
  • We form teams from among the locals and hold tournaments to break ice.

Q4. What is the source of funding of the organization?
Initially, I and a close group of supporters funded the initiatives and programs but eventually corporates, who believedin working for the community, associated themselves with STAIRS.
As a part of association with STAIRS, the corporates take the responsibility to bear a portion of the sports scholarship, sponsor the training of children in training academies and also take care of education expenses of a certain number of children. Also, we receive support in the form of sports gear and equipment from a lot of our well-wishers.

Q5. Is the government coming forward to help the organizations formulate such more programs?
When I started Stairs, there were no specific grants exclusively for CSR activities connected to sports. During that time, not many realized the value of sports. So, we have not approached the government yet for any funding or other such help. However, the scenario seems to be changing and now sports has been recognized as a potent tool for social development and youth empowerment. Also, with the recent CSR bill, it is apparent that the government’s position has changed with the times. In future, if
the need arises, we will surely ask the government for aid.

Q6. How many children has Stairs helped to earn a livelihood through sports?
Stairs sees itself in the role of a catalyst to enable the youngsters reach their full potential and help build personalities. We enable them to connect the marginalized youth, their families, and communities to the mainstream by providing sports as a platform.
We encourage the children to grow on their own and find their own calling in life. We are not into providing or promising livelihood opportunities.
However, many of our children have been selected on national teams and they continue to grow and nurture themselves and their families through hard work and talent.


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