PLAYPAL India – is a unique program supported by Setco Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility wing of Setco Automotive Limited. Setco Foundation works with the underprivileged communities of Kalol, Gujarat. Their programs focus on healthcare and nutrition, education and empowerment.
The ‘Play Pal’ training program was conceptualised by Dr. Anjali Joshi (PlayPal Project Director) and Ms. Urja Shah (President Setco Foundation). The objective of this program is to harness the potential of children by empowering and training teachers who can facilitate sports activities and motor skill development in a supportive, joyful and empathic environment.
The first batch of ten PlayPals graduated after a 6 month long practical and knowledge intensive training. For more details regarding the course please visithttp://playpalindia.org/
A graduation function was organized by the PlayPal India team to felicitate the ten trainees on the 2nd February, 2018. This celebration was attended by the children and the families who volunteered to participate in the program, faculty members and well wishers.
At this function, Dr. Anjali said, “In my years as a pediatric occupational therapist, I have seen that the parents often equate play with success and competition and not as a activity of enjoyment and fun. This means
Children who struggle on the playground are left behind by other children and the trainers. As a result, this limits the child’s opportunities for learning and participation”. To address this impending challenge, Setco foundation has initiated a specially designed and well thought through programme. The uniqueness of this program is that it builds the skills of teachers and sports enthusiasts to train children across all neuro diversities. Urja added that, “Play is the fundamental right of every child, and I believe if we don’t give the child this it is like taking away his right to food!”
During the function, a small audio-visual about the PlayPal journey of the last six month training program was screened and it highlighted the progress made by the children. The guests cheered when one of the children trained by the PlayPals said, “I would hate playing badminton as I could never hit the shuttlecock with the bat, but after my teacher (PlayPal) patiently helped me to play I am getting better at the sport and now can play with my friends.”
A mother of another child who was thrilled about her son’s progress said, “When I was asked to volunteer for the ‘Play Pal’ program I was a bit skeptical but now my son is so happy to see his teacher (PlayPal). It’s a dream come true and I would recommend the PlayPals to every child and their parents.”
In a world where competition has taken a forefront and equality, dignity and empathy are mere words; we are fortunate to have people like Dr. Anjali Joshi and Ms. Urja Shah of SETCO who have started this intiative. We wish the PlayPal team of Urja, Anjali and Sweta (Research and Communications Executive of Setco Foundation) and their faculty the very best for being a catalyst for change and for believing that no effort is lost to ensure that play is the right of every child.