Just for Kicks turns six!

This year our partner Just for Kicks have achieved a new milestone – completing six years of their unique football leadership programs in India.


Six years ago, the founders of Just for Kicks – Neha Sahu and Vikas Plakkot – had envisioned “a world where all children played freely and enjoyed themselves,  while also developing life skills, including basic values, character, leadership skills and an understanding of themselves and their surroundings”.


Click here to read about Just For Kicks’ incredible journey and how it all began, or watch the video below.


Leading with music, towards a better future

In India, where children often face enormous pressure to excel in academia, it can be quite difficult for the non-academically inclined to follow their dreams.
And if you are born into a family of school teachers, the pressure is even greater. This was the case for Vidyashree, a 28-year-old music program facilitator at Enabling Leadership.



Vidyashree’s childhood was full of struggle at school. Her father, who was a high school principal, used to worry a lot about her academic performance. At one point, out of desperation he even got her to change schools in order to help improve things.

The new school proved to be a blessing for young Vidyashree. Here, she met a new teacher and role model, who was very supportive of her and helped her overcome her inhibitions and think clearly about her future goals.




Passionate about music, Vidyashree decided to pursue this field professionally. She was a first-generation music learner in her family and completed her graduation in music. She successfully became a music teacher and worked for three years in a school in Dharwad.

She joined Enabling Leadership this year as a music facilitator and is very excited about working in the ‘Leadership through Music’ program with children in Dharwad.





“I don’t want these children to face the same problems I did. I think this program will help a lot in making these children more confident and responsible,” says Vidyashree.

Vidyashree is also currently pursuing her PhD in Hindustani and folk music. “I want to start a music institute in the future. Hopefully, that will also create jobs for the youth in Dharwad,” she says.

Video: Music Basti starts its fifth year of ReSound program


Music Basti’s fifth year starts with a beautiful song being learnt by children of SDMC schol in South Delhi! This year more than 50% of Music Basti students are in the 6-9 age group.



Working with this younger age group comes with many joys and challenges. We are excited to learn more about working with younger students and to see the impacts of early music interventions.

Music Basti’s Annual Concert ReSound 2017

Our partner Music Basti, a Delhi-based non-profit working for children from marginalized and underserved communities and schools, has completed another year of successful operations with their annual ReSound concert that was held in the Garden of Five Senses on Sunday, 26th February 2017.

The concert represents a year-long effort of Music Basti’s teachers and staff members who work with at-risk children in schools around Delhi, nurturing in them the essential life skills of creativity, leadership and confidence through fun-filled music classes.




This year’s concert had eight schools participating, and twelve original song compositions – which were composed by the children themselves. The atmosphere was quite electric as children performed on a big stage accompanied by their musician teachers playing on professional music instruments.


The theme of the concert was ‘Peace’ and each song reflected the virtues of peace, friendship and dreams of a better future. “All through the year children are learning and progressing. But this annual concert is the one big thing they all look forward to – an opportunity to perform live in front of a large audience. It gives a tremendous boost to their confidence,” says Faith Gonsalves of Music Basti.


Music Basti partners with existing community organisations or schools to run weekly music classes for children and adolescents. The classes are fun, engaging and designed to nurture leadership, creativity, self-confidence and teamwork.


Music Basti’s work has many admirers already, with musicians like Ehsaan Noorani and Vishal Dadlani pledging their support and donating musical instruments to this cause. However, in terms of funding it’s still a long way to go to be able to take the program to more children.


“There is obviously a huge need to reach out to more and more children who do not have access to quality education. And our method has proven results – children not only benefit with music skills, they also especially enhance critical skills in the areas of confidence, collaboration and team work and creativity,” says Gonsalves.

Real success is when everyone wins

And that’s what happened at the annual music fest and football final match last week where children from four villages around the town of Dharwad (Karnataka, India) participated to show their skills and learnings, and all four of them emerged winners in the competitions!


What started as our pilot program in the four villages of Dharwad, has now completed one annual cycle of after-school music and football classes, where children were taught essential life skills of leadership, creativity and confidence through these fun mediums.


As our program managers worked with the children and the teachers towards the big end-of-the-cycle annual program, we were skeptical that enough viewers will attend the event, which was being held in a remote village in rural India.




But nothing could surprise us more as hundreds of people kept pouring in from all the villages and the surrounding town to show their support to the children. And almost nothing prepared us for the frenzy of excitement that gripped everyone – from children to teachers, to school authorities, parents, families and all other community members. In the end, we had over 1,000 people in the audience, and some loud cheering for children from each group!




The government school in the village of Karadigudda played the host and it was really heartening to see their support and commitment to this program as the School Development Management Committee (SDMC) arranged for the seating as well as tea and snacks for everybody who came. It reassured us that they had faith in their children and wanted them to grow into responsible and successful leaders of the future.



The program began with a close nail-biting football match, which was decided only by a penalty shootout in the end. The football gold and silver went to Karadigudda and Pudakalakatti teams.




Whereas in the music concert, the children from the four participating villages got a chance to sing three songs each, one of which was their own compositions. With just one year of training through our after-school music classes, and with the help of our extraordinary music teachers, the kids confidently performed all their compositions, to loud cheers from the crowd.




The judges – Mr. M R Kulkarni, Ms Shakti Patil and Ms Mukta Mujumdar – who are all experienced vocalists – gave points on musical performance, along with other attributes like confidence, and synchrony and were impressed with the progress the children had made in such a short time. Ultimately the teams of Timmapur and Lakamapur bagged the gold and silver.




So even though the program was not about competition but more about a chance to perform with confidence on a public platform, it was amazing to see each of the four village teams lift a trophy in the end. All the children emerged winners in this cycle – and that’s what matters.




We are really thankful to the school authorities and parents of the children, who have given us their wholehearted support. We look forward to many more years of fun and learning with the children of Dharwad.