Sunday, 19 October 2014

A New Computer Learning Center in Tikri

Hey guys,

As you all may or may not know, I am a resident of Central Park 2 in Sohna Road, Gurgaon. Over the past few years, Sohna Road has undergone a MAJOR transformation. What used to be an area for open, dusty, unoccupied land is now among the social hubs of Gurgaon. From malls to offices and even condominiums, Sohna Road has got it all. However, it is currently sitting in the middle of the development process, caught in that ugly middle position. Half the population resides in high rises and the other half in urban slums. Most of the domestic help - cooks, cleaners and drivers - and their families reside in the urban slum of Tikri.

For the past 3-4 months, 4 new devices- 3 computers and 1 printer- have remained for the most part, unused. They are as good as new, so I decided to use them for a better cause. I wish to set up a computer learning center in Tikri, whereby several underprivileged children can gain access to technology. As technology is becoming more and more important in today's world, this could really help them, in addition to being an enjoyable experience. I have spoken to the people in charge, and they are willing to provide us the space free of cost, in exchange for the education that we will provide to their children. In a few weeks, we hope to get this up and running. 

The teachers will mostly come from the relatively tech-savvy society of Central Park 2. I have drafted a notice to be put in the society in order to mobilize as many volunteers as possible.The course structure will essentially comprise of- MS Office, the Internet, Photoshop, and the fundamentals of computers.

As Kutumb currently runs a similar program in Ghevra, I have contacted them so that I can seek the necessary help. I would love for them to join in and help in the venture- maybe Tikri could serve an extension to it's Ghevra initiative? 

Will keep you guys posted with the developments...

Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Recent Developments (featuring Bamboo goals)

Hi everyone,

Just wanted to announce that we have finally developed new goals to use during practice sessions. They will immediately replace the makeshift cones that have been in use for so long. The best part is: they are PRICE FRIENDLY AND PORTABLE!

Initially, we had decided to construct goals out of PVC pipes. At that point, we had something like this in mind:

 However, when we visited several plumbing and electrical shops to enquire about the pipes, we faced a major problem: the cost friendly pipes that we had in mind were not stable and were bound to collapse within a week or so. Also, the stronger pipes that were more ideal for a long term arrangement were way too expensive for the budget that was available. By taking these pipes into consideration, a rough estimate amounted to approximately Rs.2900/goal!

When we were searching for an alternate solution, we realized that bamboo was not only twice as strong as the pipes, but also half as costly. It was indeed the best way to go! We also managed to make a strong net out of the green cloth used in nurseries. This further brought down the price by Rs.300 as the job was all done in Rs.80/goal as compared to the Rs.380 we were being charged for the nets. Including labor, our goals were built at an expense of Rs.1480/goal- a bargain considering our first approximate. Here are some pictures we took during the process:

The children at Kutumb were thrilled when the news of these special goals reached their ears. For them, it was like another big step in life as the goals uplifted their self esteem; they no longer felt deprived of all the good things anymore...

The goals are ready to go and should be set up VERY SOON!

We have also planned a match between one of Kutumb's teams and one of IYSA's teams. We believe that games like these could follow the concept of pre-season friendlies followed by many sports all over the world. This allows the children to be more prepared for match day. Will keep you guys updated on that too!

Sunday, 15 June 2014

DYL 2013/14: Results, Standings, Awards and much more...

The 7-month long DYL season came to a despairing end when the ball rolled past Kutumb's U-13 goalkeeper into the net for the fifth time. Despite the 5-1 loss to IYSA, the 10 boy-1 girl team walked out to an encouraging round of applause with it's head held high. The maturity displayed by the pre-teens certainly ranked high in our hearts; Gautam, Nitesh and I (the coaching staff) felt as if a mission had been accomplished. For the first time, our team talk was different; we had no plans, strategies and problems to discuss. We let them munch on their bananas and sip their frooties (mango drinks) in peace.

The second half of the tournament proved to be more fruitful. The tactics, skills and detailed plans discussed in training were all enthusiastically executed on the big stage. 2/6 podium finishes meant that 30% of the players ended the season with trophies in their hands. For many, the sense of joy clearly indicated that it was the first major accomplishment in life.   

While our U-8 team finished just a point ahead of Manhattan in third, no luck came the U-9 team's way despite a brilliant season. The unavailability of our key U-9 strikers was the main reason for an 8th place finish. Though the U-11 boys beat their rivals, Panther Cubs, on two occasions, they had to settle a point behind them with a runner's up trophy (shown in the picture above). The U-13 and U-15 teams ended an average season coming in at 6th and 7th respectively. Last (and the least), the U-19's had an abysmal run this season, conceding almost an average of 6 goals/game and ending at the bottom of the table. However, with the pressure of their examinations and hectic studying schedules, they have a reason to be excused.

Well, overall the teams showed great potential this season. Although not a dominant force this season, The Kutumb Foundation will surely look to build on its 2013/14 season. Training has already begun much in advance of the next season. We have a lot to discuss and work on, so let's hope this early pre-season start works in our favor!

Thursday, 9 January 2014

2014 training status: WORK UNDER PROGRESS

Well, with the next set of fixtures yet to be released by the Delhi Youth League representatives, the boys have been anxiously waiting to see which team they will be up against next. Meanwhile, our training sessions have almost been taking place every day as the biting cold compelled the Delhi government to postpone the start of all schools. The schooling will continue from Monday and every member of all of the 6 teams has been turning in for training and utilizing the lengthy break to full extent.

As of now, Nitish (left), a 19-year old school graduate residing in the same area as the kids, and I (below) are the only 2 coaches. Our previous coaches, Lalit and Hero have been busy with other things and will return in a month or so.

Nitish and I decided to create a focus on each of the training days so that the kids didn't learn a bunch of unrelated skills, but instead worked on one specific aspect of their game each day. This way, they could not only be devoted to improving that particular aspect, but also connect the dots between the different skills taught to them and use them in more appropriate situations. As as result, connecting the dots would also help improve their logical reasoning side of the brain.

So, Saturday (only our second day of training in 2014), we worked solely on passing. These involved individual drills, like passing to the wall and yet keeping control of the ball, those with 4 people, like pass and run, as well as those with over 10 people, like one-touch passing in a circle. Sunday was allotted for dribbling. This was the most enjoyable day for the lads as at the end of the day, everyone aspires to be kings of dribbling, like Ronaldo and Ronaldinho. So, we decided to make it fun on our part as well. We taught them new skills, such as the double scissors and the Cruyff turn. It was a two step process: first, we demonstrated as to how they should be performed and then, we asked them to perform it while shouting out "Ronaldo!", "Messi!", "Ronaldinho!" etc. while they did so. Another interesting dribbling activity was when we put 2 kids in a circle with a ball for 1 minute. For an entire minute, the one who had the ball had to try and keep it away from the other one and the one who didn't have it had to try and steal it from the other. At the end of the minute (or, whenever the ball went out of the designated area), we saw which one of the two had the ball for longer and that one progressed to the next round. We turned it into a competition to make their learning process more engaging. Eventually, the one who remained undefeated was termed "King of the Ring".

Tuesday was allotted for another one of the favourites: shooting. From long ranged shooting, to one-on-one and even penalties, most of the attackers had a wonderful time. Naturally, the defenders weren't as good and were a little disappointed to see their poor conversion rate. However, Nitish and I cheered them up by bringing out their best skill when we played '3 attackers vs 2 defenders'. This is traditionally played with more number of attackers so that there is at least one free person to pass to. Despite the greater number of attackers, only one trio managed to score out of around 17-18 attempts. It was only then that the defenders managed a smile to showcase their dominance. 

Here are a couple of snaps of "King of the Ring":

The kids clearly have no idea of the mighty task ahead of them tomorrow. Nitish and I have planned a full fledged FITNESS day; not a single ball will be kicked. They'll certainly be irked when they come to know, but hopefully they understand the importance of it!

Saturday, 4 January 2014

Delhi Youth League: the midway report

The exhilarating opening ceremony of the 7 month-long Delhi Youth League at Delhi Public Scool, R.K.Puram, served as the perfect forerunner to the scheduled kick-off time. The league, ranging from October to April, is being played in 6 different categories: Under-8, Under-9, Under-11, Under-13, Under-15 and Under-19, all of which feature our teams. Sitting at the midway stage of the league, we wish to provide all our readers with an update on all the action that has taken place so far.
Although The Kutumb Foundation was sitting majestically on top of the standings table in a few of the categories at first, of late our positions in each of the categories has slumped. Struggling to cope up with the leaders so far, our Under-8 team has only managed to bag 8 points from 7 games. With a decent tally of 13 points from their 9 games, our team in the Under-9 category sits 5th, exactly at the mid-point. The Under-11 bracket is the only one in which our team has attained a top half spot. Including 4 wins and 2 draws from their 9 games, this team has really shown some promise. The perseverance they showed in our previous game, to come from 2-0 down at half time and end up as winners 3-2, indicates the maturity levels that have already surfaced in these delightful young ones.

Although our Under-13 team had a poor start to the 2013/14 season, recent 2-1 and 8-1 wins have pushed us up to 6th out of 12 teams. The reinforcement of some of our key players such as Azharuddin, who plays out wide on the right flank, is what has driven the team after a lackluster beginning. 
While the season has been going from poor to promising in the Under-13 category, it has been just the opposite story with the Under-15 lot. Major losses of late of 3-1 and 8-2 means that our team has to spend the holidays reminiscing about the past mistakes that have induced such shocking upshots. Conceding an average of 6 goals per game, the Under-19 team has only got maximum points in 1 of their 10 games and currently sits at the bottom of the table. The other 10 teams in the league have shown no mercy when facing our team. 

Our target for 2014 is to have as many top 3 finishes as we can. The lads have not been wasting any time in the holiday season and have been training with a clear goal set in their minds: to overcome the force of the other NGO's. Well, let's just hope for a better set of results.

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

It's Tournament Time!

Well, all the training and the hard work finally comes in to play as the boys get a chance to showcase their skills and compete for the title. To make it fair, they have been divided according to their age groups so that the younger kids also get a chance to play. The tournament has various NGO's battling for the position of the best NGO in terms of football skills. Each and every NGO, including Kutumb, has it's pride at stake.

In order to motivate children whose families are too poor to afford shoes for them, I asked my friends to donate their old football boots and collected 5 pairs.
The boys have been training hard and meeting daily to discuss tactics, even in absence of supervision. Thus, as you can see, they are not just playing for the sake of it, they are playing to win.
Let's cross our fingers and hope for the best! 

Friday, 23 November 2012

Day 1 at Kutumb

It was a typical winter morning; cold and foggy. Being a Sunday morning, the city
was sleeping and thus was free of its chaos and commotion. All geared up, I arrived
at Humayun’s Tomb to teach as well as play some football. The grass was green and
fresh, which is every footballer’s dream. There were around 16-17 odd kids aged
10-14. We started with a quick introduction followed by a warm up session with
several exercises for the ankles, hamstrings, toes as well as the hip. While most of
the children followed instructions, they were obviously a couple of arrogant ones
who did the exercises reluctantly. Since it was my first day, they had sent a coach to
guide me and help me out.

Having dropped Hindi two years ago, I had doubts as to whether I could
communicate with the children properly. However, having not achieved high levels in
Hindi, the children were easy to communicate with. Having their own friends circle,
the children were upset at times when they were chosen to do the drills with their
other peers. However, having taught them that their personal life does not portray
their work on the field, I was happy to see them applying this concept.

Then came their most enjoyable activity, the match. The coach told me that they
usually pick their own teams, but this time I wanted to pick the teams for them.

I purposely put a few of the kids that weren't getting along too well together as I
wanted them to learn to communicate on the field. The two that were appointed as
captain showed some evident leadership qualities. Watching their game from the
sideline, I knew that the only thing we’ll need to work on is teamwork. After all, we
have a tournament starting from 2nd December and they have some areas where
they can improve. We will be sending 3-4 teams according to their age groups.

Well, overall it was a good first experience and all I can say is that I was impressed
and my expectations were completely outdone.
Looking forward to another great session with the boys…