Countless people in this country choose to remain oblivious of the spurious condition of the society we live in, few tend to grasp the fact that India in it’s pursuit of transforming from a developing into a developed nation, continues to stumble at every step. It is the 21st century and this country still remains dictated by the norms of patriarchy, spewing venom in the name of supposed religious differences, highlighting class demarcation and in doing so, expanding the ever-widening abyss between people originating from the various strata of the society, forming an unbridgeable gap almost.
The Pehchaan Live Foundation was breathed into life in 2014 to ensure that such abysses ceased to exist as it strove to eradication the lines of difference existing between the underprivileged slum children and those that belonged to the privileged society.
The Pehchaan Live Foundation was the brainchild of Ms. Afsana who firmly believed in the potential of the children from the slums. “We started it off with the motive of providing education to the underprivileged children. We worked there for two years, in Mumbai and Delhi,” said the dynamic woman.
“In 2015 we expanded into Munger, Bihar. The interesting bit was that Munger houses a very good atmosphere for sports,” said Ms Afsana. The remarkable thing about this country lies in this respect, hunt a tiny bit and every corner of India will welcome you with one sport or the other.
Munger too opened up to Pehchaan and displayed it’s potential for greatness in football as young, enthusiastic girls between 10 to 17 masterfully tackled the ball!
However it’s not an easy job for the children do not hail from privileged families but belong to the oppressed classes of the society, especially since they are women. “All the kids with our foundation who are associated with sports come from extremely poor families. If a storm comes, it leaves their thatch houses entirely ravaged, as the roofs fly off and they have to take shelter outside in the harsh and precarious weather,” explains a concerned Ms Afsana.
While training these kids one thing became very apparent from the get-go, “Their dedication for sports is top-notch. So we thought if we could provide them with the correct opportunities at the correct time, they would indeed succeed and become recognized,” said the woman at the helm who is determined to help her kids bridge the abyss of differences through their power of sheer hard work and talent.
Not willing to leave any stone upturned, Ms Afsana with her team of enthusiastic volunteers and staff have been working on the sports team based in Bihar. Taking 24 talented young girls under their wings, all originating from underprivileged but different religious backgrounds, the players aged 10 to 17, have their eyes brimming with happy dreams. In fact, they have often played in district level matches.
The practical constraints were soon to arrive and everyone at the organisation afeared it but was always vaguely aware of it. “In the beginning everything was running pretty smooth. We even went on the show, ‘Aaj Ki Raat Hai Zindagi’ by Amitabh Bachchan where they asked us the same question. But till then, we didn’t face any major issues. However, when things started growing and we started taking care of more children, then the finances became a major concern,” explained Ms Afsana who spends every moment of her day trying to ensure the dream of her children doesn’t fade out.
A woman led NGO in Bihar is bound to be something that does not attract the easy attention of authorities. But the difficulties kept streaming in as expenses notched up.
“It became difficult to support a growing team and handle and oversee so many branches all across the country. There are teacher payments, stationary requirements, coach payments that all added up to create a financial crisis. However, the government hasn’t come to our aid yet and no CSR or government funds have been allotted yet,” says Ms Afsana remorsefully.
However she isn’t someone who likes to give up and preaches a do-or-die spirit. “It’s getting difficult day by day. But at this point we cannot take a step backwards or snatch away the dreams we have ignited in the eyes of the young children. We will strive to fulfill them come what may!” stresses an enthusiastic Ms Afsana.
In the context of escalating finances, getting funds has proved to be problematic. Yet the oath to bring ‘Pehchaan’ to the kids and help them climb the ladder of success still remains. Coming up for them is a football tournament hosted by the United Nations. “There are 16 players who are headed to Delhi for an invitation tournament hosted annually by the United Nations. Right now, they require boots to play. All their boots are torn and tattered now. Stockings, boot, lake guard and gloves for the goalkeeper, all these are emergency requirements. We also need 4 footballs of size number 5 of Nivea or any similar brand,” remarks Ms Afsana.
“The expenses will steep up to 45,000 rupees here. The boots will account for at least 26000-27000 in all and including the other things, it should be covered in forty-five thousand rupees,” she explains too.
Heading for the capital of the country on 1st of December, the brigade of sixteen young players representing an important strata in the society for a series of matches organised by the United Nations, are in ardent need of boots to help their campaign come to a success. The tournament which is due to begin from the 3rd of December and conclude with the final on 7th, has been the target for the teenagers from Bihar for a long, long time.
With a twinkle of fire in their eyes and confidence in their step, the girls are ready to take the tournament by storm. The only thing lacking right now, is the sporting gears necessary to help them achieve this dream of theirs. It is our duty to join hands and promote and cast the limelight on the shadowy sections of the society and allow them their moment to shine by helping them transform their dreams into a thing of tangible reality.
Find the bank account details of Pehchaan Foundation here if you wish to get in touch:
Pehchaan Live Foundation
Current A/C – 50200027459867