Sustained Development Through Sports

We provide a basic chance for children from socio-economic weaker segments of the society to achieve excellence in sports.

Photo of Nitish Chiniwar
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I confirm that I am fully aware of the eligibility criteria, and based on its description, I am eligible to apply to the CSV Prize 2017.

  • Yes, I'm eligible

Preferred language

  • English

Organization name

Bridges of Sports

Year founded


Initiative stage

  • Growth (the pilot has already launched and is starting to expand)

Annual budget in 2017 (USD)

  • $100k - $250k

Number of beneficiaries impacted so far

  • 250 - 500

Organization type

  • Nonprofit, NGO, or citizen sector

Secondary Focus Area

  • Nutrition

Headquarters location: Country

  • India

Headquarters location: City

Bangalore, India

Location(s) of impact

India: Chikmagalur, Mundgod.


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Problem: What problem is this initiative trying to address?

The Siddis are an Indo-African community confined into forest areas and coastal belt of India, living with racism and neglected since 400 years and since independence. The Siddis are relying on sports to train and represent India with hope that - it will aid their acceptance into the mainstream Indian society but have failed to get support from govt. or private organisations. We are providing impetus for children from such communities through sports, for their sustained development and integration into society.

Solution Summary: What is the proposed solution? What do you see as its most promising aspects for creating shared value?

Together with Ex-Olympians, we work with children from socio-economic backward communities. Irrespective of their gender, ability or disability we give them an opportunity train, excel and have a career in sports. The kids are coached in specific sports, at their schools by the brightest athletes and teachers of their community who dedicate 2 years of their life to be on our fellowship as coaches. We implement interval skills program during the 2 years, for the fellows providing them training on use of technology, curriculum etc to enable them to be micro entrepreneurs post the fellowship, with a focus on creation of more employment opportunities at community level. We aim to develop the ecosystem, inclusively by involving the brightest people of their community who also serve as role models. The fellowship model will build a strong alumni movement of leaders who will share their value working with other local organisations, schools or independently post fellowship.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Specify both the social and the environmental impact of your work

We would like to give an example of the social impact generated by restarting the sports program for the Siddi Community. Our fellows travelled 800 kms across forest dwellings of Karnataka to meet Siddi children and convince their parents to let them join school and train in sports. Currently we train 150 children at a local community school. Together along with schooling, they have amassed more than 20 medals including 7 Gold and 4 children qualified for State Athletics meet. The areas we work, lack sustained means of employment avenues, which leads to negative impact on the environment due material consumption and antisocial behaviour. For the first time since independence, the Siddis are sustainably moving out of seclusion. Through sports, they channelise their energy into creating better value for themselves, their community and the environment. Today we are working with over 15 fellows, impacting 4 communities and over 500 children. In 2018, we will be working with 60 fellows.

Financial sustainability plan: How is this initiative financially supported? How will you ensure its financial sustainability long-term?

We are currently incubated in Indian Institute of Management Bangalore and supported by Michael and Susan Dell Foundation. We are also recognised as "top 20 exceptional new-age nonprofits of India”, with a potential to scale by N/Core which is backed by Nandan Nilekani and Tata Trusts. We are also finalist at TFIx an initiative by Teach for India and have secured position in the final round of Millennium Alliance Grant and received in-kind tech grant from Google. Currently we financed through grants. We will move from grants to sponsorships and work with organisations and schools to provide skill development and vocational training in sports and sports related courses. And finally crowdfunding through accessing the retail market will from the crucial core areas towards our sustainability.

Unique value proposition: What makes your initiative innovative? How does your project differ from other organizations working in the same field?

We are aiming to develop the ecosystem, inclusively and sustainably by involving the brightest athletes and teachers from the local community who also serve as role models to the children. Our fellowship model, enables building of a strong alumni movement of leaders, role models and coaches which will work with local government and organisations to help create community centric initiatives. This will act as a BRIDGE to their integration in social and economic activity of the nation.

Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that sparked the beginning of this initiative.

We believe that education for all should not just looked upon as means to improve learning or mathematical skills. It should not just be access to basic education but access to excellent education covering all areas from arts to sports, from language skills to STEM education. Our founder, during his Fellowship at American Indian Foundation, undertook few case studies on organisations using sports in communities doing an excellent job at this and have actually shown results where children have grown out and taken leadership roles in their community post their secondary schooling. We believe access to experiences outside the classroom setting by creating platforms for children to exercise their diversities are crucial to nurture their leadership skills in creating a sustainable social change. Bridges of Sports was born to implement this idea at a scale needed to initiate radical change.

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Join the conversation:

Photo of Prabhakar Rao

Congratulations Nitishji; It is heart-warming to note the initiative of reaching out to the community of Siddhis, who have all along been marginalised all these centuries. Having seen these people while working in Uttara Kannada many decades back, I perceive that this is a good target group, having a good physical attributes for sporting endeavours and prepared to work hard, being used to the rough life. The idea of combining sporting excellence in particular and healthy life support system through sports in these circumstances can sustainably work under two basic conditions, particularly for the reason that, despite all the best efforts, pinnacle of excellence can be reached only by a few:1) Academics – learning life skills that go beyond sports 2)Intent of the family to support their wards, despite the current Socio-economic context of most of the families, where the children are thought to be adding to the labour earning capacity of the family. While BoS is linking & encouraging schooling for the children as an integrated idea, the latter needs to be taken care of equally. I think that constant talk with & counselling of the families-community leaders can go well for the latter, while local industries , who can be good sponsors of these initiatives in the next phase, they also can be of an economic support to the families by employment prefernces; so that the children of the community can be allowed to try out their life , a privilege enjoyed by more affluent & urban counterparts, by striving to reach sporting excellence.
All the best BoS & Nitish..Keep making ripples… they will turn to waves…with your perseverance and support that your intent is bound be generating all around….

Photo of Nitish Chiniwar

Thank you Prabhakar Rao for in-depth perspectives. Yes, we are making sure to have constant interaction with parents to share our idea and discuss their views and the role they can play.

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