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Change Makers: Ananya Kamboj is a teenage changing the world through sports

WONKedition's interview series Change Makers spotlights Gen Zers that are taking action to change the world.

August 2020
Meet the founder of Sports to Lead:

Who are you?
I am Ananya Kamboj from India, Global Citizen, and a 15-year-old girl from a humble background with myriad dreams twinkling in my eyes. I happen to be an ambassador of football (soccer), peace, SDGs, and women empowerment. I wish to take the spirit of hope, togetherness, and inspiration to millions of children across India and South Asia and make this world a better place to live in. I am studying in grade 11 at Vivek High School, Chandigarh.

What’s Sports to Lead?
In 2019, I founded Sports to Lead, a company that aims to use the power of sports for social good. The objective of Sports to Lead is to inculcate values and life-skills in order to help children/youth become more confident, skilled, and more enjoyable based on the nine values - friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions, and honor. It is a structured sports program and focuses on using sports as a medium to encourage learning and breed leadership and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) among the youth in urban and rural India.

Why did you start Sports to Lead?
I have been playing football and basketball in my school and club teams since childhood. During my training sessions, I noticed how some sports coaches had been promoting the notion that girls can’t play sports. I was very offended when the coaches used phrases like ‘you are a girl’, ‘you are playing like a girl,’ and those kinds of statements. I thought I need to demolish these differences between men and women. This made me launch Sports to Lead to help girls and women understand their rights and overcome gender inequality. This initiative uses sports as a medium and includes workshops and awareness sessions on how to fight discrimination and gender inequality.

Where do you see yourself and Sports to Lead one year from now?
In the 2019-20 school year, we reached out to about 1,900 children at six schools through our leadership program and sports camps. So far this year, we’ve taught 8,015 children and awarded more than 2000 scholarships. We offer need-based scholarships for 25 to 95 percent of the cost. We reinvest our profit into programs in low-income areas, into the development of our website and other related material. Now, we are present in two cities but we are going to expand it to more than 50-60 cities by the end of this financial year.

On my personal front, my future plan is to do FIFA Master, a sports management course that includes a comprehensive understanding of the social, economic, and legal dimensions of sport and be prepared to assume the paramount challenge of promoting change through sports in India.

Find out more about Sports to Lead.

Other Change Makers:
- Kriti Sarav’s WhyFI Matter$ gives teens money skills
- Grace Maddrell takes action for young LGBTQ+ people and solo strikers
- Sameer Yasin started Green Kingdom to help people hurt by climate change
- Laura Muwanguzi gives hope to Uganda's children with sickle cell anemia
- Jacob Cramer’s Love for the Elderly embraces seniors across the world
- Oseriemen Atamewan is challenging all South Africans to plant trees
- Maria Raquel Thomas started a cosmetics business to solve everyday problems

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