KOLKATA: Dream Sports Foundation (DSF), the philanthropic arm of Dream Sports has successfully supported over 3,500 sports professionals across 29 sports during the pandemic as part of its Back on Track programme launched last year.
Out of the 3,500 beneficiaries, 3,300 are current and retired athletes, over 100 are coaches, and more than 70 are sports support staff and journalists. The beneficiaries are from 24 states and three union territories in India, it said on Friday.
The onset of the Covid 19 pandemic has disrupted life at many levels leading to job and income loss across industries and sectors, including sports and the programme has been able to help people in need from the sports industry by providing financial aid, training, and sports equipment support, coaching, proper diet and nutrition, monthly stipends, and hygiene kits.
To ensure that the aid reached the most affected members of the Indian sports ecosystem, DSF also helped 16 NGOs across the country, including Nav Sahyog Foundation, Dribble Academy, Nagaland Football Foundation, The Right Pitch, The Ball Project, and many more. DSF supported sports journalists through the Playfield magazine initiative who had lost their jobs due to the COVID crisis.
Speaking about the programme, Dream Sports & Dream11 COO & co-founder Bhavit Sheth said, “Owing to the lack of opportunities and resources due to the pandemic, many sports professionals and athletes were giving up on their dreams as they were unable to sustain themselves. We wanted to help them land on their feet and take strides towards their personal and sporting goals through ‘Back on Track’. We are glad that we could reach several sports beneficiaries pan-India and provide integral support within the last nine months.”
One of the beneficiaries of ‘Back on Track’ is Rani Laxmi Bai Sports Academy, Bihar, which gives girls from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to play sports at state, national and international levels. Academy's founder, Sanjay Pathak said, “We are grateful for such initiatives that have made a significant difference for our 55 senior students, who play football and handball. They have helped in retaining their dreams of playing sports, especially during these difficult times. The girls played with a single pair of shoes for one whole year, but thanks to Dream Sports Foundation's support, they now have multiple pairs of high-quality shoes and sports kits essential for national-level players. The monetary support is also helping us provide better nutrition to the students.”