Vijay Barse Wiki, Biography
Vijay Barse (born 5 February 1946) is a social worker from Nagpur, India. He is known for having founded Slum Football, an organization that uplifts underprivileged children through football. His efforts have led to the upliftment of underprivileged children from Nagpur using football as a source.
Barse worked as a sports teacher in Hislop College, Nagpur. In 2001, he founded the Slum Soccer organization after spotting a couple of underprivileged children playing with a makeshift football, inspiring him to start a soccer club. He established the Krida Vikas Sanstha Nagpur (KSVN) with his wife, Ranjana Barse, and son, Abhijeet Barse.
Vijay Barse’s story was also unveiled in Season 3’s 1st episode of the TV show Satyamev Jayate which was hosted by Actor Aamir Khan. Barse’s, as well as Slum Soccer’s life, has been depicted in the Bollywood movie Jhund directed and written by Nagraj Manjule. Barse’s character was played by Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan.
Vijay appeared on an episode of Aamir Khan hosted Satyameva Jayate and shared that while working as a sports teacher at Nagpur’s Hislop College in the early 2000s, he once spotted a few kids as they were kicking around a broken bucket in the rain. He offered them a football, and they happily accepted. Vijay shared on his TEDx talk that soon after that, he spotted another group of kids kicking around a tennis ball.
Soon, he got these kids together in a playground and realised that as long as these young kids were on the field, they were away from the ills of the world. This is how, he thought, he could actively contribute towards building the nation’s future. “I realised that these kids were away from bad habits as long as they were playing on the field. What else can a teacher give?” he said on Satyameva Jayate.
Thus began the journey of Zopadpatti Football in 2002, which eventually became famous as Slum Soccer. When his colleague asked why he had named the league Zopadpatti Football, Vijay shared in his TEDx talk, “I knew that all players came from living in zopadpatti/slums, and I have to work for them only so I must continue this name.”
Soon after, the league grew. Matches were now being played on the city level and the district level. When a 2003 article in Dainik Bhaskar brought Vijay to the limelight, his work became known to a larger audience. The Slum Soccer league became a national phenomenon as coaches and kids from all over the country wanted to get associated with it. In the early days, Vijay had no sponsors who were funding his endeavours and he was using his own money. When his son, who was living in the US, read an article about this in an American newspaper, he came back to help his father.
In a 2018 chat with The Indian Express, Barse shared, “I am a sports teacher. But I am not promoting the development of football. I am promoting development through football.”
Barse shared that in 2007, Slum Soccer’s national tournament got covered by the BBC. The then director of the Homeless World Cup, Andy Hooks, invited Barse to Cape Town, South Africa. Here, Vijay met Nelson Mandela. “I received the biggest recognition for my work that day when he put a hand on me and said, ‘My son, you’re doing a great job’,” he shared.
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