STAIRS (Society For Transformation, Inclusion and Recognition through Sports) has bagged the coveted ‘Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puruskar 2016’ award in recognition of its contribution towards the ‘Identification and Nurturing of Budding and Young Talent’ in India.
Mr. Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS, received the award from Honourable President of India Sh. Pranab Mukherjee at a specially organised function at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, on the occasion of National Sports Day, today.
Siddhartha Upadhyay, Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS, said “We are glad that the supreme authorities of the country have recognised our efforts. The award recognises the efforts made by STAIRS towards creating multiple opportunities for young children at the grassroots level across India and encouraging and engaging millions of children in various sports. We at STAIRS believe that India has a huge pool of promising sportspersons who need to be identified at a young age and be provided with the right nurturing environment so that they can bring laurels for the country. This recognition has also infused confidence in us to further our initiatives.”
For over two decades, STAIRS has been relentlessly helping young children and professional sportspersons across urban and rural India to discover their untapped potential, enabling them to gain a foothold in the social mainstream and the confidence to compete and excel.
By providing opportunities to marginalised youth in the hinterland through dozens of sports-focused programmes, to the creation of platforms like STAIRS School Football League (SSFL) and now opening of training academies for promising and deserving players, STAIRS has completed the full cycle that a player may need to go through. To an extent, at least in eight states in India, STAIRS been able to create an environment where all children get a fair chance to practice their ‘right to play’.
STAIRS programmes include training camps, tournaments and championships, thus providing a platform to these children to hone their skills and showcase their talent. STAIRS taps into the potential talent and provides an opportunity to climb the stairs of social empowerment and shape character by inculcating a sense of belongingness in the society. Some of the STAIRS beneficiaries are currently playing at the national and international circuits and earn laurels for the country.
With the focus on achieving Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs) through sports, over 200,000 children play – without having to spend a penny – ‘every day’ at 400 STAIRS Training Centres in over 4,000 villages across 7 states in India. Over 2,000,000 lives have already been touched and changed through STAIRS’ interventions, and the organisation is steadily scaling and increasing its reach with an aim to touch one billion lives by 2020.
STAIRS was selected for the prestigious award from a large number of nominations by a selection committee consisting of former Olympians, Arjuna Awardees, Dronacharya Awardees, Dhyan Chand Awardees, sports journalists, experts, commentators and sports administrators.