During the first week of October, 14 underprivileged children from a Mumbai slum community will arrive in the UK to take part in a two-week ‘Schools Football Tour’ based in Gloucestershire. As part of the tour, they will visit Cheltenham College for a day to take part in a skills workshop with College pupils and play in a World Cup themed football tournament with Prep players.
The children are part of the OSCAR Foundation, a not-for-profit organisation that supports and mentors the most vulnerable young people in slums across India, teaching them the value of education using football as a tool – developing teamwork and leadership skills and encouraging the children to become role models for their community. There are currently over 3,500 children in the OSCAR family.
OSCAR’s founder, Ashok Rathod, has visited College twice in the past to speak to staff and students about his journey from the slums of Mumbai to becoming the founder and director of an international not-for-profit organisation. Director of Internationalism and Culture, Mr Nick Nelson, and Head of Charities, Dr Adam Dunning, were inspired to support the charity.
Cheltenham College, along with four other schools and local corporate sponsors, has been instrumental in raising money to sponsor the tour, through Chapel collections and a fundraising day. The tour includes a trip on the London Eye, accompanying musical icon, Elaine Paige to The Lion King, a visit to Windsor Park, a Go Ape encounter, Chelsea FC training session, participation in school lessons and activities and the grand finale is a visit to Manchester United FC, by invitation of Juan Mata.