notes from the field // 2013 issue 5

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notes from the field Asian Aid July 2013 // Issue 5 Stories and Photos by Joshua Moses © 2013 Asian Aid Australia.

Author: asian-aid-australia

Post on 26-Mar-2016




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Take a look into the lives of young boys from slum communities in Bangalore, India, part of the Oasis YES project to lift youth out of poverty; a project funded by Asian Aid. Please feel free to share, email, download, and print this document.


  • 2013 | issue 5

    notes from the fieldAsian Aid

    July 2013 // Issue 5Stories and Photos by Joshua Moses 2013 Asian Aid Australia.



    This year is flying by, and oddly enough Ive predominantly stayed in one place, Bangalore, India. 2012, the previous year, required a monks patience while every few weeks the location changed and I was forced to acclimate to the environment, different food, different work, and new people. 2013; not as such.

    Though this year has yielded more office time, Bangalore has no shortage of inner-city escapes for its inhabitants, and sport is of the most popular. Through the congestion, 5-wide traffic on 2 lane roads, and construction sites utilizing any and all empty land, there exists easily missed plots dedicated purely for the sake of competition and sport.

    The Oasis YES (Youth Empowerment Slums) project, based in Bangalore, had humble beginnings. Oasis staff recognized the need among the slum communities to give the children a sense

    of belonging outside of their home environment. Many of these children did not go to school and often their boredom or free time led to negative activities. Through the simple challenge of sport, namely football, young boys quickly said yes to be a part of daily morning practices where they could play pick-up games of football (soccer).

    Enter Sathya. A former professional football player who wanted to contribute back to his community and was referred for a coaching position under the YES project cloud and since then he has coached every single participant in the program.

    No one could predict just how good the skill of these young boys would be, but no doubt it has astounded many professional team-scouts that come to the city games looking for new talent.

    The Oasis YES project team, the Bangalore Eagles, recently competed in a C-League tournament

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    where they breezed through all the way to the finals. They finished the competition, which consisted of 10 games, with one loss at the finals.

    The achievement and accomplishment, though sweet, is still in the shadow of the greater personal growth these young boys have received. Through the confidence and team-building atmosphere of sport they have learnt how important their contribution to society is. Teams that dont play as a team quickly fall apart as opponents learn and adapt to weak spots. In life we form bonds and friendships, and if those are strong and progressive, good things happen, but if they are weak or poorly managed they crumble and scars form. These are the life-lessons and principles Sathya, along with secondary coach James, teach the young men, both on and off the field.

    While I was watching these games I couldnt help but think what their life will look like in 10-15 years,

    and what it may have looked like if Oasis hadnt come along to advocate on their behalf and give them a chance at a life of success and self-respect.

    Will they be fathers? Police officers? Counselors? Professional football players? Businessmen?

    The world is their oyster and they are, through this program, developing the skills needed to crack its shell and peruse a path thats suited for them.

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    // Up-and-coming Oasis YES program participants //


    undERSTAnding dETERminATiOn And gOOd fORTunE

    Day by day, early morning Id wake up at 4am and start my practice. All the other boys were better than me, but I wanted to learn so I practiced a lot and got better.

    Sathya, the Oasis YES project football coach explained to me the journey on which he was passenger, that led him to his current position. He highlights this burden he has to give back to the community, and how it stemmed from his single-parent raising. His father ran away while he was young and his mother struggled to support him in his developmental years.

    Near his house was an empty pitch of land where many boys from the community played soccer, and though he didnt know how to play he was determined to gain acceptance and affirmation from them. Indeed football became his passion. His determination paid off as only after a few years he tried out for an Under-19s team and got in. From there he graduated to the Super Division which is Indias 3rd tier professional football league, and considered the entry-level professional class. It was from here that he decided to become a police officer, but his football days continued, as he played for the police football team in state competitions.

    Now he has been involved with the YES project for 9 years and has seen young boys turn into young men and through his coaching and football experience. His coaching and guidance has seen them move

    through the ranks and a handful of them into positions on state teams.

    This sense of accomplishment for Sathya gives him the determination to continue to build this project. Now there are four fields where practice happens every morning, 5 days per week, across Bangalore. Each field has assigned leaders, all of which started as young children in the program and are now older. These leaders at each field, along with all the participants, all come from slum communities. For these young men, this is there sense of belonging and for many of their parents; its a source of pride.

    It doesnt stop there; Oasis has set up the Oasis Youth Center where young boys

    can come and spend time whenever they want. Here they offer tutoring for homework, a place they can call their second home and spend time with each other. Also this place is home to their many, many trophies.

    This unique approach to the effective development of our future generation

    is wholly possibly through the support of generous individuals. Do you enjoy sport?

    How much do you spend on sport in a year? Think about how a percentage of that cost could help these young boys; fellow sport connoisseurs like yourself. Supporting this project helps with staff wages for the coaches, contributes to jerseys, football boots, training (football and leadership), camping trips, and many other essential tools to bring these young men to a place of confidence. wAkE uP

    AT 4Am And START mY


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    Having the right tools of the trade is essential, but you need to know how to use them. Stephen was used to playing on the uneven football pitches that were carved or dug out of rubbish tips and uninhabited fields. The gift of a great coach and some good football boots took Stephens skill to the next level, so much so that he is now playing for state level Super Division A-League; one level below professional. His aim; to represent India on a national level in football.

    But he has learnt more than just the pursuit of football glory. His long term goal is to pursue a life similar to that of his coach, Sathya. He sees Sathya as a mentor and father figure, who dedicates his time to build up the whole individual rather than just football skills.

    Stephen was of the first young boys who started in the program and he continues to give back to the program by working as a coach for the younger children participating in the program.

    He told me I could have three things if I joined the Oasis football program: I could learn to play football, I could learn discipline so I could be a better person, and I could get quality friends. Satesh was 17 years old when he was given those options and when he first met Sathya. His opposing options were a continued life of alcohol abuse and getting into trouble with a crowd he struggled to get away from.

    Its only five years later and Satesh has played for the Karnataka Under-19s A-league team, and is now starting in the Super Division A-League, two tiers under full-professional football in India. He is still young, but through the leadership traits he developed as a participant in the YES program, he is also now working full-time for Oasis as a leader in the Youth Center. He helps tutor and lead the younger boys participating in the program as well as working as a coach every morning at 7am at one of the fields Oasis holds their training.

    A turnaround story; even he wonders what he would be doing had he not chosen to be a part of the Oasis YES project. 5 years later and his sphere of influence has gone from being negatively influenced to positively influencing other young boys who come from the same impoverished and at times dangerous communities as him.



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