Anatomy of a Change-Maker: Part 1
“Sharing means saving future generations, if we offer better education, children can grow up to be good human beings, making a positive contribution to the world."
Ashok Rathod, Founder, Oscar Foundation (Organisation for Social Change, Awareness and Responsibility).
When slum-born Ashok Rathod decided to change the poverty- fuelled, crime-filled future that life had in store for him, his first instinct was to share. How could he change the future for himself, his peers and for future generations? The result was to persuade 22 slum kids to club together (a sort of street-style-crowdfund) to buy one 400-rupee football, the equivalent of £4 or $5. With one football, Ashok realised, he could change the lives of 22 kids.
Fast forward to 2019 and the OSCAR Foundation is thriving. A social enterprise that provides after school programmes using football to attract, educate and empower underprivileged children, OSCAR has now educated over 3,000 children.
Ashok is one of 200 change-makers worldwide that I have interviewed for my forthcoming book, Generation Share. Published by Policy Press for Global Sharing Week 2019 (June 16th-22nd), Generation Share takes people on a much needed journey of hope to meet the change-makers who are building a society fuelled by Sharing.
Three years of research for Generation Share, has shown me that change-makers have 6 all-important character traits and over the next 6 weeks, I’ll be revealing for the first time, the Anatomy of a Change-Maker.
Change-Maker Characteristic Number One:
SHARE: Ashok’s dream was not only to change his own future but that of his peers and of future generations. Living in one of Mumbai’s most notorious slums, Ambedkar Nagar, he realised that like his friends around him, his likely path was one of drinking, gambling and certain poverty. With school dropout rates of slum-based kids being over 60%, he set out with his one football to change the lives of 22 kids and find ways to change the lives of more. Driven by a desire to share the vision he had for his own future and help make that a reality for others, Ashok’s OSCAR Foundation has reduced the school dropout rate amongst slum-based kids to 15%.
“At Oscar, we give them an education in maths, English, IT and life skills. If they complete our classes, they can play football once a week and participate in competitions and camps. Our programme has 100% success rate”.
Of course, the sharing doesn’t end there. Determined to share opportunities with girls as well as boys, he’s proud that 40% of those enrolled at OSCAR are girls and that ratio is rising. Some parents, he said only wanted to enrol the boys. ‘I told them, if you won’t send your girls, we won’t take your boys.’
Of the 200 change-makers interviewed for Generation Share, all of them demonstrate a passion to change lives and share opportunities with others. To share is to be human; we would not have survived as a human race were it not for sharing. Being a change-maker first and foremost means being a Sharer.
"I have a purpose in life, to share opportunities with young people so they can rise up from poverty. I don’t focus on winning I focus on win-win. Sometimes the kids say – ‘oh no the match was a draw’ ‘penalty, penalty’ and I say ‘no penalty’. With no penalty, both teams win. In a win-win, everyone is happy. Sharing is win-win".