Akshai Abraham

By Angana Prasad
An MBA from IIFM, Bhopal, with a seven year work experience in the development sector in the areas of research, program development, project management and organization building, Akshai Abraham had a lucrative career ahead of him. Yet, he quit all of that to live his dream to impact the lives of underprivileged children and youth of India through the power of Sports. A sports enthusiast himself, the idea of ProjectKHEL (Kids Holistic Education and Life Skills) was born out of his one year stint as an AISEC trainee (2001-02) in Austria. His experience of living and working in a highly developed country motivated him to rethink his career plans from IT to the social sector.
ProjectKHEL is a customised programme that uses sports as a platform to engage with adolescents from disadvantaged backgrounds. Once engaged, the programme leads the beneficiaries through a series of modules designed to impart crucial Life Skills Education (LSE) through experiential learning and activity based learning models. KHEL partners with organizations working with orphans, street children, slum children, village children, children in shelters and children of migrant and domestic labour and engages these children for at least a period of 3 months. Sessions at each beneficiary location are held on a semi-weekly basis and sessions consist of both sports as well as LSE. In addition to these sessions, the project conducts specialised thematic workshops and modules from time to time which aim to arm the beneficiaries with awareness on issues such as Civic Responsibility, Child Sexual Abuse (good and bad touches), Personal Hygiene and Self Presentation, Menstrual Hygiene Management, Safe Hand Washing, Peer Pressure, Tobacco and Substance Abuse and so on.
To keep up the spirit of sports, ProjectKHEL has managed and organized tournaments: The 19th Sub Junior Under-14 State Basketball tournament and a 10 day Charity Night Football Tournament (Club level). Another major achievement of ProjectKHEL is the Global Peace Games which was hosted in Lucknow in 2012 and 2013. These games, conducted at the grassroot level all over the world, is an annual event and a global initiative to foster peaceful relations between communities. The Global Peace Games for Children and Youth gives the children from different schools and backgrounds, in Lucknow, an opportunity to interact with each other in a non-competitive manner and to experience various sports and games.
In it’s 1.5years of existence, ProjectKHEL has reached out to more than a 1000 adolescents and is working with almost 700 children in and around Lucknow city. The aim is to reach out to more than 100,000 children by the next 5 years.