Shoreham students pledge to fundraise for charity working with slum children

Ashok Rathod, one of the founders of the OSCAR Foundation, visited Shoreham College
Ashok Rathod, one of the founders of the OSCAR Foundation, visited Shoreham College

Shoreham students are working hard to come up with ideas to help raise money for a charity helping children get out of the slums.

Ashok Rathod, one of the founders of the OSCAR Foundation, visited Shoreham College to discuss how it could help in raising funds for the charity, which works with 4,000 slum children aiming to change their world.

Groups played games on the field as part of the day with Ashok Rathod

Groups played games on the field as part of the day with Ashok Rathod

A child of the Mumbai slums himself, Ashok founded the organisation with a few friends when he was just 18. His idea was to encourage children to play football, but they could only do so if they promised to attend school.

He then persuaded families to allow their girls to play too, and now thousands of children attend school and are mentored by teachers OSCAR provides.

The OSCAR Foundation was first introduced to Shoreham College a few years ago, when staff and students collected dozens of out-grown football shirts and parent Jon Trigg made the trip to Mumbai to help coach the kids at the foundation and present the shirts personally.

The college has since decided it would like to help lift the children out of the slums of Mumbai and the Oscar Foundation was voted for by the School Council as one of the charities it will raise funds for this year.

Ashok amazed Shoreham students by stories of the slums, descriptions of classes of 60 children with one teacher and families of eight or more living in a few square meters of home.

Staff said it was real eye opener for students in assemblies and geography lessons, who enjoyed meeting him and his colleagues.

He went on to teach pupils slum skills footie in the afternoon where everyone had great fun.

Asked what he felt at the end of his visit, Ashok said: “We have had a lovely day. It was an opportunity to learn for all of us.”

Head teacher Richard Taylor-West said: “It was a wonderful chance to learn about how Ashok and his colleagues are changing lives, while at the same time broadening the outlook of our children too, and giving them a chance to contribute to the wider world beyond Sussex.’

Ashok is planning on bringing children over to the UK from India to do a mini football tour in October, when Shoreham College will be host to a team of boys aged 14 to 16.

For more information, visit www.oscar-foundation.org