ESPN DEDICATES MULTIFUNCTIONAL SPORTS SPACE IN BANGALORE, INDIA
Community leaders, local residents, and youth gathered in Bandepalya, Bangalore, today to participate in the opening of a new multifunctional sports court dedicated to the local community and its residents. The global project, led by ESPN, has seen community spaces created across Latin America. Bangalore is the first city in Asia to benefit from ESPN’s safe spaces initiative. The court and surrounding area was refurbished with the help of community members along with ESPN and Disney employees. It will be home to ongoing development programs for young people in the community aimed at teaching life-skills and empowering them to fulfil their potential, all through the power of sports. The program will be delivered by Magic Bus, a non-profit organization with its roots firmly set in India. Magic Bus will strive to equip children and young people of Bandepalya with the essential skills and knowledge to be able to break the cycle of poverty, take control of their lives and become active members of their community. These life skills – ranging from education and gender equality to health and employability – will be taught by youth leaders from within the community, with support and training from Magic Bus’ unique mentorship program.
The inaugural event, hosted by ESPN Indiapresenter, Raunak Kapoor andIndian radio host, Monita Bala,was attended by Russell Wolff,Executive Vice President and Managing Director, ESPN International, Ramesh Kumar, Vice President, ESPN India andSouth Asia and AshwiniNachappa, former athlete and an Indian film actress from Karnataka aswell as community volunteers who helped build the space, local residents andtheir families; ESPN and Disney employees; and community sports and artsorganizations. The celebration included cultural performances, specialrecognition of community leaders who volunteered their time to the project, aswell as football and cricket matches open to the community.
“At ESPN we believe that sports has the ability totransform lives, and we are proud to be able to support and empower communitieslike Bandepalya to unlock the benefits that sports offer,” said Russell Wolff. “Both love.fútbol andMagic Bus have been outstanding partners on this project, helping build thissafe space in a community where there is a need and where it can truly make adifference.”
Bandepalya is spread over approximately twokilometers, has a population of more than 7,000 people and is one of the mosteconomically disadvantaged areas in Bangalore. It suffers from low access toquality education, health and hygiene, adequate housing, clean drinking water,sanitation and open spaces to play. With high dropout rates from school, anaverage child in Bandepalya only achieves education up to eighth grade standards.The area also has high levels of tobacco and alcohol use amongst children at anearly age.Matthew Spacie, Founder andExecutive Chairman, Magic Bus, said, “Providing a space around whichthe community can come together alongside structured sports program that willengender leadership and life-skills is an attempt to support the community infacing and overcoming some of the challenges with which it is confronted.”
love.fútbol, which is known to build community sportsfacilities all over the world, played a key role in selecting Bandepalya forthe new play space and court based on need, population and socio-economicstatus. “Bangalore is home for many of us at ESPN. This safe space is notmerely the construction of a sports court for a part of our community, but aspace that aims to engage our neighbors in Bandeplaya from its initialcreation. We want the Bandepalya community to have a true sense of ownershipthat enables sustainable growth and impactful outcomes into the future.Volunteers from the local community, non-governmental organizations, as well asESPN and Disney employees have come together to contribute to the building ofthis space and we are extremely proud to help make it a reality,” said Ramesh Kumar. “This initiative isanother way that ESPN is contributing towards the larger goal of using thepower of sports to make a difference in the communities we are a part of."