OSCAR Foundation is a football-for-development non-profit dedicated to empowering children and youth in low-income communities in India. It uses football as a tool to deliver life skills sessions. The sport is used as a medium to engage these children, with the prerequisite that they attend school if they want to play. This simple rule has done wonders, and children’s school attendance dramatically improved along with their attendance in the football sessions.
The communities in Mumbai that OSCAR works have school dropout rates higher than the national and where public exam results are lower. Most children from these communities attend Municipal Schools. In 2018, 26% of children at such schools failed their 10th Standard SSC exam, whereas only 7% of children at non-Municipal Mumbai schools failed. Annually, OSCAR reaches out to more than 7000+ children through all its programmes and till date it has reached out to more than 15,000 children. OSCAR programmes are spread across Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Daman and Karnataka. Vision: A world where all children and youth have an equal opportunity to succeed.
Since 2006, Ashok Rathod has led sports for development (S4D) projects, offering quality football training and life skills to address sport access disparities among youth in underserved areas. Influenced by his own experiences in the Ambedkar Nagar community, he founded OSCAR Foundation and pioneered the organisation's community-centric approach. A CNN-IBN Real Hero and Apollo Tyres Go the Distance Hero awardee, Ashok is an Ashoka Youth Venture Fellow and Acumen Fellow. He's also a speaker at international leadership forums advocating for education. Web: https://www.oscar-foundation.org/