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INDIA: Soccer tournament helps youth engage with peers


Don Bosco Industrial Training Institute hosts annual state-level soccer tournament for 75 teams

(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco Industrial Training Institute in Madurai, India, hosted an annual state-level soccer tournament in October, which featured 75 teams from different districts of Tamil Nadu. The tournament, which had not been held the last two years because of the COVID-19 pandemic, brought together hundreds of players and thousands of spectators. The event was organized with the help of Salesian youth center members.

Salesian programs around the globe have a focus on socio-sports education. Playing sports helps youth learn new skills and engage with their peers. Sports and activity are particularly important during the pandemic when many have become more sedentary. It has been recommended that individuals get 150 minutes of moderate intensity or 75 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity per week or a combination of both.

“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourage leadership skills as well as teach youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity.”

To help foster more socio-sports education, Salesians have an ongoing collaboration with the Real Madrid Foundation. The social-sports schools are housed in Salesian schools. As part of the Real Madrid Foundation’s “They play, we educate” program, participants receive nutrition, family and psychological support, regular health checkups, and the opportunity to participate in social and educational workshops, gymnastics, crafts, reading, and citizenship activities.

Training sessions on topics such as health, hygiene, values, and the prevention of alcohol, tobacco, and drug abuse are also provided. Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.

India has the world’s fourth-largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.



Photo courtesy of Don Bosco India

Don Bosco India – Don Bosco Madurai Hosts State-Level Football Tournament

Real Madrid Foundation

Salesian Missions – India

World Bank – India

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