Dream Sports Foundation (DSF), the philanthropic arm of Dream Sports, has successfully supported over 3,500 sports professionals across 29 sports during the pandemic as part of its Back on Track programme, it has announced.
Out of the 3,500 beneficiaries, 3,300 are current and retired athletes, over 100 are coaches, and more than 70 are sports support staff and journalists. The beneficiaries are from 24 states and three union territories in India.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted life at many levels leading to job and income loss across industries and sectors, including sports. Launched in August 2020 on National Sports Day, ‘Back on Track’ has been able to help people in need from the sports industry by providing financial aid, training and sports equipment support, coaching, proper diet and nutrition, monthly stipends and hygiene kits.
To ensure that the aid reached the most affected members of the Indian sports ecosystem, DSF also helped 16 NGOs across the country, including Nav Sahyog Foundation, Dribble Academy, Nagaland Football Foundation, The Right Pitch, The Ball Project and many more. DSF supported sports journalists through the Playfield magazine initiative who had lost their jobs due to the COVID crisis.
Speaking about the programme, Bhavit Sheth, COO & Co-Founder of Dream Sports & Dream11, said: “Owing to the lack of opportunities and resources due to the pandemic, many sports professionals and athletes were giving up on their dreams as they were unable to sustain themselves. We wanted to help them land on their feet and take strides towards their personal and sporting goals through ‘Back on Track’. We are glad that we could reach several sports beneficiaries pan-India and provide integral support within the last nine months.”
One of the beneficiaries of ‘Back on Track’ is Rani Laxmi Bai Sports Academy, Bihar, an institute that gives girls from disadvantaged backgrounds the opportunity to play sports at State, National and International levels. Sanjay Pathak, Founder of the Academy, said: “We are grateful for initiatives like ‘Back on Track’ that have made a significant difference for our 55 senior students, who play football and handball. They have helped in retaining their dreams of playing sports, especially during these difficult times.”
“The girls played with a single pair of shoes for one whole year, but thanks to Dream Sports Foundation support, they now have multiple pairs of high-quality shoes and sports kits essential for national-level players. The monetary support is also helping us provide better nutrition to the students,” he added.
Joining the nation in the fight against COVID-19, in April 2021, DSF donated INR 15 crores to Give India and ACT Grants for providing immediate medical relief through the supply of medical equipment, hospital beds, and aid vaccination drives across India.
DSF also launched a public fundraiser through Ketto, which has already raised over INR 1.25 Crores, to further support the COVID-19 relief initiatives in India. In 2020, Dream Sports Foundation supported over 6 Lakh Indians during the crisis by providing cooked meals, dry ration, and hygiene kits to the underprivileged and protective gear to the frontline workers of Govt. of Maharashtra and BMC (Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation). DSF has also contributed to the PM CARES and CM Relief fund for COVID-19.