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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.