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ProjectKHEL: Changing Lives through Sports

Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$10,000 - $50,000
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

ProjectKHEL (Kids Holistic Education and Life-Skills) uses sports as a platform to engage with adolescents and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds. Once engaged, we impart Life Skills Education using activity based and experiential learning methods.

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

Children could learn without knowing they are learning... just having FUN?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

Our beneficiaries are adolescents and youth from underprivileged backgrounds - street and slum children, orphans, children of migrant and domestic labour and village children. All of these 'at risk' children face unique challenges which do not allow them to break out of the circumstances they have been born or brought into. Even if they attend school, academic learning does not help them deal with these challenges effectively.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

ProjectKHEL imparts crucial Life Skills Education (LSE) giving these children the necessary skills to deal with the unique challenges they face and help them develop into contributing members of society. In addition to giving them a platform to expend their physical and creative energies, the program leads them though various stages of understanding themselves, interacting with others around them and making the best use of their cognitive abilities, solving problems and resolving conflicts. The project also arms them with awareness around key developmental issues such as general hygiene, tobacco and substance abuse, child sexual abuse and menstrual hygiene management. All of this is done in a fun manner using sports, games and activities.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

During our sessions, we get to see real impact in the small behavioural changes we observe in the children. Children who were loners are more social; children who were bullies emerge as peer leaders; there is a sense of teamwork and sharing; increased gender sensitivity and acceptance; and improvements in dress, self presentation and abusive language. Other than the direct impact we see each day, our partners have given us extremely positive feedback including increased school attendance, improved class participation and even academic performance, improved confidence and public speaking, increased gender sensitivity. Teachers from rural schools have reported a definite improvement in self presentation and students attendance.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

We are currently working with ~700 children in Lucknow and have worked with ~1200 children overall through our regular programme. These regular beneficiaries consist of slum children, village children, orphaned or destitute children in shelter homes or children of domestic or migrant labour. In addition, we have conducted special Menstrual Hygiene Management sessions with over 650 women and children who are not our regular beneficiaries and Safe Handwashing with over 200 such children.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

Our model is very agile and scalable as we take the program to each beneficiary twice a week and do not have any fixed infrastructure (school) where children have to come to attend. In five years time, we plan to reach out to more than a hundred thousand children and adolescents from UP (dependent on funding we can secure). The locations for scaling would be after school programs of elite schools in cities, shelter homes for orphans and schools that cater to underprivileged adolescents and youth.

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Until now, we have been able to do quite well with the support of individual donors, small grants from online competitions, crowdfunding and small fund raiser events. However, moving forward, we plan to apply for larger grants, competitions and CSR funding to help us scale the impact of the program.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are other organizations using the Sports for Development / Life Skills Education approaches in India but they are mainly limited to the south of India. Working in Uttar Pradesh is challenging for several reasons and though there are small differences in our approaches, we mainly differ in our geographical scope.

Founding Story

Our founder, Akshai, takes pride in saying there was no Aha moment! In 2001-2002, he worked in Austria for a year as an AIESEC trainee/ web developer. It was this experience in a highly developed country that motivated him to rethink his career plans from IT to the social sector. Earlier, he had been fortunate enough to study as a scholarship student in a premier boarding school where there was a lot of focus on sports and extra-curricular activities which he felt was more important than the academic learning he received. The idea thus was festering for long and finally, after working in the social sector for 7 years, he decided to merge his interests of development and sports and launched ProjectKHEL in 2012.


The founder has significant experience in the social sector across disciplines such as education, health, hygiene, sanitation, environment and livelihoods. He has also managed large action research projects and also a million dollar grant project. Thus far, ProjectKHEL has been operating with 2-3 full time team members who are freshers with either sports and/or life skills backgrounds alongwith a network of part time paid volunteers and interns.
About You
About You
First Name


Last Name


About Your Project
Organization Name


How long has your organization been operating?

Organization Country

India, UP, Lucknow

Country where this project is creating social impact

India, UP, Lucknow

What awards or honors has the project received?
Funding: How is your project financial supported?

Friends and family, Individuals, Businesses.


1. Felicitated with the Karmaveer Chakra, a national medallion awarded by iCONGO in association with UN, VSO International, SOAP and various partner organisations.
2 ProjectKHEL also won the first round of Mahindra Spark the Rise Competition.
3. Other than regular coverage of various activities and events in the media, we have been featured by Niiti Consulting, Volunteer Weekly, The Better India and in Dasra’s research report on Sport for Development in India.
4. Our founder has been covered as a ‘changemaker’ by Times of India, ‘unsung heroes’ by Infolona, and on the Amazing Indians TV Show on Times Now.

Primary Target Age Group

6 - 12, 13 - 17.

Your role in Education

After-School Provider, Coach, Counselor, Social Worker.

Please specify which of the following best applies:

I am applying on behalf of a particular program or initiative.

The type of school(s) your solution is affiliated with (if applicable)

Public (tuition-free), Home-School, Other.

Intervention Focus

Extracurricular, Community.

Does your project utilize any of the innovative design principles below?

Putting Children in Charge: Giving children a voice and cultivating agency via experiential learning, project-based learning, and civic engagement.

Is your project targeted at solving any of the following key barriers?

Whole child development is undervalued: Essential parts of development get left behind as children get older, such as healthy habits, executive function, and social and emotional learning.


We need solutions to measuring impact of Life Skills and intangibles such improvement in communication or confidence, etc.


Modules on Life Skills Education

What key learning outcomes does your work seek to improve?

Leadership, Communication, Critical and Creative Thinking, Empathy, Teamwork, Community, Gender Sensitivity, Conflict Resolution, Self Awareness, Problem Solving.

Secondary Form
PROGRAM DESIGN CLARITY: We are hungry to know more about what exactly your model consists of. Please succinctly list a) what main activities are you doing with your beneficiaries, b) where you carry out the activities? c) how often? d) for how many hours? e) who delivers the services? and f) any other brief details
INSPIRATION: What do you consider the most important trends or evidence that inspire you to believe the world is ready to Re-imagine Learning? Please elaborate.
LEARNING THROUGH PLAY: What does “learning through play” mean to you and why it is a must-have, instead of a nice to have?
SUSTAINABILITY: Please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating the percentage that comes from each source.
MODEL: How does your mission relate to your business model (i.e. Non-profit, for-profit or hybrid)?
FUNDING PRIORITIES: If your organization were given $20K in unrestricted funding today, how would you use it? Why?
PARTNERSHIPS: Tell us about your partnerships that enhance your approach.
COLLABORATIONS: Have you considered or initiated partnerships with any of the other Challenge Pacesetters? If so, please share.
VISION: If you had unlimited funding, and you could fast forward 15 years to when your program has been able to achieve wild success - what will it have achieved?
IMPACT - KEY METRICS: Please list the key data points that you would cite as evidence that you are able to achieve lasting learning outcomes. Please also share one data point for which you most hope to see better results over time
IMPACT - REPORTING SAMPLE: Please attach any examples of your impact reporting. [optional]:
RESEARCH AND EVIDENCE: Please link or attach any research or evidence resource you are open to sharing more widely [optional]. Building research and evidence is a key aim of this initiative, and the resources you share may be chosen for listing in the Center for Education Innovations library:
SOURCE: If applicable - who created the research or evidence you are choosing to share? :
IMPACT - REACH: How many people did your project directly engage in programmatic activities in the last year?

STUDY: Has an external evaluation or study been conducted of your organization?

Other (please specify)
Number of Employees:

Number of Volunteers:

APPROACHES: Given the complexity of play, it is not surprising that there have been numerous research attempts to categorize the different types and approaches! Please indicate which of the following your project focuses on.

Other (please specify)
AFFILIATION: Please specify if your organization has any existing affiliations with the LEGO Group.