To begin with, tell us the Journey of your foundation.
I started it around 1999. I wanted to do something for the society and started this initiative called Stair’s. I would go to nearby slums, villages and make young and small children play with me or I would go and just teach them how to hold a bat, play football and all sort of things. I was a sporty person. I was a sportsman by heart and still I am. Gradually that whole initiative picked up. We started mini programmes in Delhi, scholarship programme, community connect programmes and others. And today we have around 1.5 lakh children playing with us, free of cost every day.
What were the challenges you faced? And how did you overcome them?
There were no readymade patterns for doing something in sports that time. During those times, even today, for that matter, philanthropy in sport is something which is not very widely expected, so people don’t fund it and to run anything you need fund, fodder and fuel. Money was always a problem. But luckily, I was earning well, I could put in lot of money myself, my friends would put in as well.
What are the other programmes initiated to reach the rural youths?
There is a Khelo programme of Sair’s. Under Khelo programme you have got Khelo Delhi, where you got over 15,000 children playing with u. You have got Khelo Himachal, Khelo Sirsa, Khelo Haryana, Khelo UP. So that is the typical Khelo programme where we would go and conduct small training camps, selection camps, children form groups, then we identify the areas, go and speak to the community people. There we open sport centres, it could be volley ball, football, cricket, hockey, or hand ball, whatever game is played over there, in which children are interested. All the equipments are provided to them and then training is given to them. If we get talented children then those children are picked up and sent for scholarship. Few days back we launched Hockey for Growth. The programme is the biggest one India has ever seen in the field of sports. We are talking about distributing one lakh hockey sticks and hockey balls to the rural, tribal and the underprivileged areas of this country.
What is your future road map?
Future road map is very clear; we just want right to sport to be the fundamental right of this country. We want to reach out to almost every youth of this country. We want India to start winning medals as compare to its size, its population; its inherit talent is in the villages of this country. We just want to be at the top when it comes to sports, building strong characters and living a good life. That’s our target.