And Miles To Go…

 

HERD Foundation began as a dream in the hearts and minds of a committed young couple who could visualize their common aspirations for the development of a more balanced public and civic life. Their objective remains in place to this day, to transform disadvantaged rural realities into the invigorating idealism of their imagination. The organization continues to pump hope, ambition and ability to circumvent circumstances in order to create a better world.

To this end, both Dr Amol Deshmukh and Dr Suchika Gupta proactively carry on their straightforward agenda to bring relief and succor to the underprivileged rural folk. What they have attempted to do is to keep on encouraging people to build up knowledge, learn to raise their voice on issues that affect them and make social, economical, and environmental equity work for them. This is how the Foundation has been operating from day one through their shared vision.

HERD Foundation’s underlying philosophy remains constant. Good health for all and knowledge for all. It is true, optimal physical health is the real wealth and knowledge through education is the only asset worth having. It is this understanding that is constantly being filtered to our disadvantaged sections. Knowing full well the unfortunate conditions of education, livelihoods and way of life, the Foundation has been motivating them for getting duly empowered.

HERD Foundation facilitates such empowering processes for communities. The leadership helps create hope and vision that imbibes values and inspires the community to achieve what they want. They are keenly nurtured to move ahead in desired directions for their economic and social development. The Foundation thereby empowers community groups to accomplish shared interests and goals.

They are encouraged to articulate their needs to understand what they really require in their lives and then to make moves accordingly. Communities are persuaded to remain in control of local knowledge, gather suitable external knowledge, and engage with suggested means and measures to claim solutions for existing lacunae. Another facet of the work is to focus on constraints in women’s participation. Believing that gender concerns are critical and these have to be supported for inclusive participation on all kinds of social issues, the Foundation works very closely with them. Youth are another segment that is brought into the fold of education, livelihood and participation in civic life.

HERD Foundation works with rural communities at grassroots and also addresses perceptions at urban levels to facilitate understanding of situations existing just outside suburban perimeters. We do this by involving and demonstrating to the wider public about the socio-economic factors that affect us all. We involve public and private agencies to help deliver education, public health, and occupational needs. We look ahead to projects and are all set to take in rural, urban, national, and international perspectives to create a better world around us.

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Status of Rural Sports

HERD Foundation

Rural Sports Are Here To Stay

Rural people in our country comprise of much higher percentage of populations than residents concentrated in urban areas. It may come as a surprise to some that rural people do have a higher level of physical fitness too as compared to urban counterparts. It therefore becomes essential to look for talents lying dormant among rural youth so that they can be made to participate in sports events. It is our hope that we can set up means to cull out sports persons so that they stand a chance for inclusion at national and even international levels.

We need to pay attention to closing existing gaps by exploring ways to set up rural sports facilities. For some strange reason sports have remained confined to citified populations. It is for this reason that you will find awareness, equipments, training, infrastructure and other sports facilities available largely for urban people. Despite the fact that Rural Sports Programme launched by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Government of India in 1970, it has till date clearly not managed to reach rural populations.

HERD Foundation is of the view that given appropriate means and wherewithal rural sports can flourish. It is up to most of us to ensure that sports and games are given the right push. It is therefore our endeavor to broad-base games and sports events in rural areas. We have been experimenting on our own by arranging volleyball, cricket and kabbadi tournaments in identified rural districts for past three years. Our efforts and ensuing outcomes make us believe that it is a vital area of interest, one that can change the rural scenario.

However financial aspects of indulging into sports venture leaves us perplexed. It is a fiscally demanding area of operations, one in which even the government allocated funds fail to find their mark. Aside from funds not reaching the last mile, inherent corruption makes funds disappear before they can be used for the given purposes. Also there has been no systematic attempt to propagate sports activities in rural areas. Added to this is the dismal lack of public awareness in rural areas that they do have access to sports.

Studies indicate that rural citizenry remains unaware of State government measures for meeting sports needs, at both district and block levels. Not many people know that State governments are liable to organize sports even at village levels. This means that Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports is not able to disseminate knowledge related to access to sports and sports schemes at village levels. The fact is information reaches only up to block level where Block Youth Affairs and Sports Officials usually have an office. Clearly the responsibility for promoting and training rural sports is not being taken seriously.

Our own experimentation over the past three years have shown that the test of raw strength and stamina in rural parts is truly remarkable. We have had plenty of fun, frolic and competition in some of the identified sports that proved popular. We see the activities going far beyond than what we aimed for. What had started out as a scheme to introduce the fun of sports and skills through our programme, now wants us doing much more. Our hopes are pinned on our endeavor to extend rural sports to be recognized as a crucial link for wider outreach.

HERD Foundation Sports Programme

Volleyball Fun At Parseoni

 

The Euphoria of Sports, Games & Competition

Colorful Flags Flying High

The Fun Of It All

“…it is now possible …to create a world where everybody shall have a reasonable chance of happiness.”

Bertrand Russell may have written these lines in a different context, but for HERD Foundation they ring true in our attempt to organize sports events for two rural districts of Nagpur – just for the fun of it all!  Realizing that this mainstay extracurricular activity of city bred people needed to be extended to allow a sense of enjoyment for rural populace too, Dr Amol Deshmukh planned a series of sporting events that brought enthusiastic teams in the fray.

It is very true that sports are to be enjoyed to bring on the feel good factor. They help develop excitement for living it up for something much more than beyond the ordinary normalcy of everyday life. Offering a great diversion for some part of your time, they help you forget about the rigors of life and give you joy for a little while. Yes sports do have a happy impact on your psyche and sustain your tame existence.

Games in all honesty are a healing factor uniting people for a common passion. It has been interesting to make note of the manner in which the teams have been practicing for various events, egged on by vigilant sports teachers. Our coaches have been offering guidance and instructions for understanding the rules of the games. Even the general onlookers rooting for the teams offer a sense of exhilaration, which is a pleasure to watch.

We love how the competitions have developed a fan following for HERD Premier League or HPL in the region.  It’s great to see the youth look forward to something that is so simple and so good for them. Besides getting their minds off the daily grind of life these games have become a symbol for something much deeper – developing a sense of strength and purpose to prevail on their minds.

This euphoria that HERD Foundation has injected in the youth has created good interaction and better connections among people who perhaps otherwise would never have met up. They have been instrumental in projecting good, clean fun besides opening up a world of sporting fun. If only for sometime HPL Sports do act as a bonding element to bring the youth together to have a moment of unadulterated happiness.

The Fun Times

The Pursuit of Happiness

Enthusiastic Response to Sports Grand Finale at Parseoni

Sports Event in Parseoni

Volleyball Finals

The steady downpour of early morning hours of the gray cloudy Sunday had our collective hearts sinking. However, soon the day opened up to stunning heavenly skies. The grand finale of the Parseoni Sports Day was a tremendous success. Breaking previous attendance records, the grounds of M G College, Parseoni were full of cheering young boys and girls experiencing the joy of sports that they discovered through HERD Premier League (HPL) in their town!

Clearly by the end of the day one could see that the majority of the crowd wanted such sports activities to happen again as they had really had such great fun! Actually the event was a great experience for both the competing teams as well as the spectators. The sports – Athletics, Volleyball and Kabbadi that had been taken up for the village youth over the last few months proved to be a great way to encourage the fun of sports in five rural circles chosen for involving the young sportsmen.

Thanks to Dr Amol Deshmukh, his team and the dedication exhibited by sports teachers who all made these activities possible. It was truly an incredible thing to offer to the youth by providing them the opportunity to enjoy the love of sports and games. The idea put forth by Dr Amol Deshmukh was very well organized and watching the atmosphere at the finale was a fantastic experience. Yes, the skies were asunder with cheering and more cries may well have been for such events to happen again.

It was actually a very positive experience for both participants and spectators who were around in hundreds. The sports meet saw participation of boys in large numbers from across the Taluka. The meet organized by HERD Foundation had competing teams playing against each other in Athletics, Volley Ball and Kabbadi finals. The charismatic presence of Dr Amol Deshmukh along with HERD Foundation team added to the fun of the event. The sports teachers had meticulously planned the schedule of activities, making an ordinary Sunday come alive as a heady away-day for all.

The winning teams and players of volleyball and kabbadi matches were given trophies and cash awards too.  Cricket kits were distributed to worthy players identified in advance. The sports teachers made it abundantly clear to the kids about the importance of team spirit in building their character. They encouraged the youth to actively participate in competitions and to follow inspiring sports personalities as their role models.

The valedictory prize distribution session presided over by Dr Amol Deshmukh along with local dignitaries of Parseoni had him complimenting the winners and hailing them as keen sport people. He stressed that equal importance should be given to both sports and academics for holistic development of the players. Sportsmanship he stressed helped in developing creative thinking and team spirit among them. The glorious day ended with HERD Foundation team enjoying playing cricket by themselves.

Parseoni Sports Day

Crowds of Spectators During the Awards Valedictory Function

Hu Tu Tu – For the Love of Sports

Volley Ball at Parseoni

Sports Events in Rural Areas – Volleyball Match at Parseoni

It is a mistaken notion that sports events in rural areas are non-existent. Our villages do excel in several kinds of native games but organized sports events may not have likely occurred here. Yet with the passage of time and modern means of communications – TV being the most watched medium, sports events have gained increasing coverage, making youth respond to sports. Local schools and colleges also facilitate sports. But response to such events may not always be overwhelming.

We do know that some sports have found their origins in villages itself and have gained popularity over time.  These include indigenous games like twisting hands, holding wrists, weight-lifting, jumping, running and wrestling. These rural sports likely emerged out of need to defend against animals or adversaries.  Also the interdependence of people from different community may have induced the need to showcase the need for physical strength.

Kabbadi is still one of the most favored of rural sports. It is wonderful to see locals hovering around to enjoy the fervor of this sport in villages. They do get all high-spirited as teams engage in fending the field and their breath! Rural folks organize and arrange such events by also extending hospitality to both competitors and spectators, making it more fun. History tells us that only after independence did the circle of rural sports get extended to include other games besides wrestling and kabbadi.

HERD Foundation attempts to revive the celebration of rural sports by organizing games events in a grand and splendid manner. Our rustic aspirants are all excited about playing Volleyball and participating in cross country running. The prizes attached to events make competitors more keen and competitive. They strive harder for victory and enjoy the healthy completion. Indeed it is exhilarating to see the blend of defeat and victory, action and boundless energy that exists in our villages. Our rural districts are enjoying sports activities that has created an intoxicating atmosphere.

Rains - Playing Spoilsport!!

And Boys Will Be Boys!