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The hidden gems of Grassroots sports in India: Celebrating the winners SSF Grassroots awards

Simply Sport foundation hosted the 1st annual grassroots awards night in December 2022. The event aimed to celebrate the achievements in India's grassroots sports ecosystem. In total, five awards were awarded in various categories, along with the launch of the SSF white paper on 'Women in Sports: Breaking barrier in Sports' and a new initiative, 'Simply Periods'. The five winners of the awards come from various parts of India and uniquely promote grassroots sports. In this article, we are giving you a peek into their background and how they impact India's sports ecosystem.

1. Grassroots Sports Women's achievement of the year 2022 - Mrida Education & Welfare Society

The Mrida Education & Welfare Society is a non-profit organization focusing on education and welfare initiatives in India. Mrida was founded by Priya Nadkarni & in the year 2012.

Priya Nadkarni was part of the team for PRADAN's grassroots program for the tribal youth in Mandla, Madhya Pradesh. While implementing the programs, she realized that standardized education for such youths (from impoverished rural families) is crippling because it took away their basic ability to observe and be aware of their environment, minds, and bodies.

The foundation helps improve access to education through various programs and projects, especially for underprivileged children. Over the past decade, the Mrida foundation has significantly impacted rural communities across India. Its programs have benefited thousands of people and contributed to improved living standards, health, and economic opportunities. Various organizations have recognized the foundation's efforts, and it has received awards and recognition for its innovative approach to sustainable rural development.

Mrida's impact in numbers:

400 -Children reached from impoverished tribal families with the grassroots intervention programs.

400 - Study Hours achieved by students of Riverside Natural school learning and practising Robotics & Programming

100% - Grade Levels achieved in middle and high school despite the covid-19 lockdown restrictions.

2000+- Footballing Hours have been achieved by players of Narmada Valley Football Academy.

The 1st Girls U-17 team has won the championship in Madhya Pradesh (MP) and has proceeded to compete in the National Subroto Cup in Delhi. They triumphed over Indore (7-0), Gwalior (19-0), Bhopal (10-0), and Narmada Puram penalties (6-5) to represent MP. Brijkumari and Ambika were recognized as standout players, and Lalita was named the Best Striker.

2. Best Grassroots Academy of the year 2022 - The Yacht Club of Hyderabad Foundation

The Yacht Club of Hyderabad Foundation is a non-profit organization that aims to promote Sailing and boating as a sport and recreational activity in Hyderabad, India. YCH foundation was founded by Suheim Sheikh & in the year 2009 with the intent of creating infrastructure for all to access, given that Sailing has been part of Hyderabad and Hussain Sagar for more than a century. YCH works to provide access to sailing and boating facilities and training programs for people of all ages.

They focus on developing youth and children through Sailing; by providing them with opportunities to learn and grow through Sailing, they are also promoting environmental awareness and conservation. And by focusing on the development of youth and children, they are helping to promote environmental awareness and conservation among the next generation. The YCH has experienced significant growth, starting with just 4 kids and 3 boats and now boasting a fleet of over 150 boats and serving around 150 children.

YCH's impact in numbers:

Since its inception in 2009, YCH has instructed over 800 children in Sailing, mostly from underprivileged backgrounds. The club has produced 6 national champions, 4 state champions, 68 medalists, 30 international competitors, and 10 students accepted into Armed forces training schools. Additionally, 19 boys have been admitted to Army and Navy Boys Sports Companies and 2 directly into the Navy as of May 14, 2021, after being trained at YCH.

3. Best Grassroots League of the year 2022 - Brahmaputra Volleyball League

The Brahmaputra Volleyball League (BVL) is a professional volleyball league based in the Indian state of Assam. It is organized by the Brahmaputra Volleyball Association (BVA) to promote the sport of volleyball in the region and provide a platform for local players to showcase their skills and compete at a high level.

BVL is the first Grassroots level volleyball league which started in 2020 during the pandemic, with a single-minded focus on making volleyball a game accessible to all the children in our villages. It is the brainchild of Abhijeet Bhattacharya, former captain of the Indian Volleyball team, who has represented India in 100-plus matches in 22 tournaments in the international arena.

BVL's area of work is primarily focused on organizing and promoting the professional league, which features teams from various cities and towns across Assam. The league runs for several weeks and features both men's and women's teams. The league also includes various activities, such as coaching clinics, talent identification programs and youth development programs, aimed at promoting the sport of volleyball at the grassroots level.

BVL is helping to identify and develop the next generation of volleyball players in the region.

BVL's impact in numbers:

BVL is having a positive impact on the promotion and development of volleyball in the region. 94 Villages 28 districts,209 teams, 450+ matches. The league is attracting a large number of participants and spectators, and it is helping to raise the profile of the sport in Assam. The league is also helping to create opportunities for local players to pursue careers in volleyball and to represent the state and country at the national and international levels.

4. Sports Non-profit of the year 2022 - Aahan Foundation

Aahan Foundation for Social Change is a non-profit organization founded by Rashmi Tiwari based in India that works to promote social change and empower marginalized communities. They provide education and training, especially for children and women, and improve marginalized communities' economic and social conditions through various initiatives such as skill development, sports, healthcare, and community development.

Their work includes a wide range of programs and initiatives aimed at promoting social change and empowering marginalized communities. These include education and training programs for children and women, as well as programs aimed at improving the economic and social conditions of marginalized communities. They also focus on providing healthcare services and raising awareness about various health issues and working to improve the standard of living of the communities they serve.

Aahan's impact in numbers: Sports training is a critical component of Aahan’s intervention for girl empowerment. Their sports training program has suc