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I'm delighted to share a preview of the project I’ve been working on for the last 18 months. Generation Share is the world’s first coffee table book project that takes readers on a journey of discovery around the world to meet the inspiring people who are building a Sharing Economy. Through stunning photography, social commentary and interviews with change-makers worldwide, Generation Share will bring to life the phenomenon that is causing the most significant shift in society since the Industrial Revolution and is the biggest business trend of all time.

The book is a collaboration between myself and Sharing Economy photographer Sophie Sheinwald. Generation Share will showcase incredible stories demonstrating the power of sharing; from the young social entrepreneur in Mumbai who is educating slum-based girls, to a Makers' collective in Barcelona who are reimagining cities, using technology to upcycle precious resources. You’ll meet the woman who is transforming the lives of waste pickers across Africa and an entrepreneur in the UK who has started a food sharing revolution. What follows, is the first in a series of excerpts from interviews with change-makers for Generation Share, set to be the seminal coffee table book on the Sharing Economy.

The Football Sharer

Ashok Rathod is 29 years old and was born in one of Mumbai’s biggest slums, Ambedkar Nagar. In 2006, he founded the Oscar Foundation (Organisation for Social Change, Awareness and Responsibility), a social enterprise that provides after school programmes using football to educate and empower underprivileged children. OSCAR has now educated over 3,000 children.

If we keep children in school, they can go to college, they can go to university, they can think big and follow their dreams. At Oscar, we give them an education in maths, English, IT and digital skills. If they complete our classes, they get to play football once a week and take part in competitions, football camps, workshops and events. Our programme has 100% success rate, so they learn to read, write and have basic life skills. When I started this work, the school dropout rate was 55-60%, now it is 15-20%. In 2006, there were no girls playing football. It took me 5 years to get a girls’ team going. The parents didn’t believe in the girls. They expected them to learn housework so that they could marry and take care of their husbands and family. I told the parents, if you won’t send your girls to play football, we won’t teach your boys. So they started to send the girls, and now 40% of the children at Oscar are girls. My initial goal of transforming the lives of 18 school dropouts has grown. 18 became 25, 25 became 40 and after 11 years, we’ve helped more than 3,000 children.

Football itself is sharing, the whole world needs to learn from football because you can’t play football alone – you need to pass the ball, you need to share it. Through football, these under privileged children are getting an education, they’re getting an opportunity to share their dreams, to have a future. If everyone learnt sharing through football, the world would be a more peaceful place.

I have a purpose in life, I want to share opportunities with young people so they can pursue their dreams and rise up from poverty. I believe education means that they can have a better life. Most of the time I don’t focus on winning, I focus on win-win. Sometimes the kids say – ‘oh no the match was a draw’ and they say ‘penalty, penalty’ and I say ‘no penalty’. With no penalty, both teams win.

In a win-win, everyone is happy. Sharing is win-win’.

Generation Share will be published in 2019 for worldwide distribution.

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