PSD’s impactful journey with the Dream Building Fund

The ITTF Foundation is in the midst of its fourth call for Dream Building Fund projects powered by The Foundation for Global Sports Development. We are excited to share the incredible journey of one of our successful candidates from the second batch: Community Table Tennis (CTT), a collaborative effort between implementing partner Pro Sport Development (PSD) and the ITTF Foundation. From April 2021 to June 2023, this programme has been a beacon of hope for the marginalised communities residing in the slum areas of Bhubaneswar, India.

Unearthing Potential in the Heart of Bhubaneswar

Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, has a significant slum population, accounting for 36% of the total population. Within 436 recognised slum settlements, numerous challenges prevail, from gender discrimination to concerns regarding public health and well-being. Young individuals, particularly girls, from these marginalised communities face substantial hurdles in their socio-economic development.

A Delayed Dawn

Originally slated to commence in April 2020, the CTT programme's initiation was deferred due to the sweeping impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Finally, in April 2021, amid India's second wave of the pandemic, the programme took flight. Initial stages saw the programme adapt to government-mandated lockdowns by providing online sessions to participants. It was not until the latter part of 2021, with the reopening of schools, that the programme transitioned to on-ground implementation in October.

Nurturing Skills, Shattering Stereotypes

The heart of the project lies in its structured, goal-oriented curriculum designed to educate and empower young minds. Through a dynamic three-pronged approach, the programme aimed to:

1. Table Tennis Skills Mastery

Participants were equipped with the fundamental table tennis skills such as grip, serve, forehand shots, and backhand, laying the groundwork for a strong foundation in the sport.

2. Cultivating Soft Skills and Values

Essential life skills including communication, teamwork, leadership, focus, and self-esteem were honed, fostering socio-emotional development and personal growth.

3. Challenging Gender Norms

The programme sparked awareness on gender and socialisation processes, increased knowledge on menstruation and menstrual health and hygiene, dismantling deeply ingrained stereotypes and myths.

The Journey of 284 Bright Sparks

Engaging a total of 284 participants, with an inspiring 47% being girls, the project unfolded within four community schools based in the heart of Bhubaneswar's slum areas. These schools served as sanctuaries of learning and growth, providing dedicated spaces for the establishment of table tennis facilities.

The tireless efforts of PSD's dedicated facilitators ensured that each school received the necessary infrastructure, including tables, rackets, and balls. Furthermore, sports kits, comprising of t-shirts and shorts, were distributed among all participants, ensuring a quality learning experience for each child and adolescent.

Illuminating a Path to Success

In July 2022, PSD partnered with Signify Innovations to revolutionise the table tennis facilities in the four community schools of Bhubaneswar. Signify Innovations, through their ‘Khel Jyoti’ CSR programme, installed state-of-the-art LED lighting with solar backup in these facilities. The installation was meticulously designed and executed in accordance with national sport guidelines, resulting in certified illumination levels. This sustainable solution, powered by solar energy, ensures an uninterrupted power supply for the long term. Additionally, high-mast LED outdoor lights were strategically placed around the schools, creating safer environments for participants, particularly girls.

By lighting up the table tennis courts and enhancing the existing facilities, PSD and Signify Innovations ensured a premium playing experience for participants who previously had limited access to adequate and suitable table tennis facilities.

Celebrating Achievements and Looking Ahead

The project achieved monumental outcomes over its two-year tenure:

  • Young minds shed gender-based stereotypes, embracing newfound sensitivity, understanding and friendship.
  • Participants emerged as leaders, fortified by an acute awareness of gender issues and equipped with vital soft skills.
  • Empowered to shape their own destinies, young individuals made informed life choices, resulting in improved economic and social well-being.

In total, the project delivered an impressive 611 sessions from April 2021 to June 2023. These included 39 online sessions and 572 offline sessions, encompassing 336 table tennis sessions, 170 soft skill sessions, and 105 gender sessions.

A Future Fuelled by Promise

Though the project has reached its conclusion, PSD’s commitment to the cause of gender equality and youth empowerment remains steadfast. We thank PSD for being a great partner and creating a platform for social change. We look ahead to new ventures, confident that together, we can continue to forge positive change in the lives of young people.

For further information about the project incl. four inspiring case studies of participants visit this webpage.

Visit this link for more information on the Dream Building Fund 2023 call for application.


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