Bergner Group and Cooperación International Empower Children and Adolescents in India Through Its Youth Leadership Programme

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Mumbai: Youth Leadership Programme’ is an ongoing initiative by Bergner, a leading kitchenware company originating from Europe, in association with Cooperación Internacional, a Spain-based NGO with its presence since 1993, where they together aim to provide holistic development to children and adolescents from the slum areas of Mumbai, India.

Children often face social exclusion due to a dearth of general awareness, academics and overall exposure. In order to address these challenges, the project is primarily working on three growth areas, i.e. education, sports and value dissemination, amongst children. Moreover, the idea is to enable children across various backgrounds to come together and foster a sense of belongingness, which harnesses in them social skills such as empathy, cooperation, and communication that are essential in life.

As a part of this programme, the organisations came together to host a football tournament for the beneficiaries of the programme. It was held at Don Bosco School, Matunga. Boys and girls from 9 to 17 years of age participated in the tournament.

Commenting on the success of this football tournament, Deborah Belho, Assistant General Manager – Marketing & Communications of Bergner India, said, “It is crucial to instill the importance of physical fitness in children from a young age along with academics, extra-curricular activities and life values. With the Youth Leadership Programme, Bergner aims to serve as a mentor to children from disadvantaged backgrounds, thereby fostering teamwork, responsibility, and gratitude among our team members.”

Twelve volunteers from Bergner Europe came to India and spent over a week in the Govandi slums of Mumbai in June-July. The children had the opportunity to learn the sport from where it originated. Additionally, these volunteers contributed towards educating children on various other subjects and provided a cross-culture experience.

The Bergner Group truly believes that human interaction and support is as important as providing financial aid. And hence most of its projects involve team members stepping in as volunteers for training and support. Catering to this philosophy, Bergner Group, along with Cooperación Internacional, has been bringing volunteers for over a decade, to Mumbai for developing the “Football is Life” Camp. The participants include children and adolescents that are at risk of social exclusion. The initiative has benefited more than 700 children to date.

Bergner also has other social projects ongoing, such as the ‘Second Chance’ that aims to empower the lives of marginalized women dwelling in red-light areas and give them means to a new livelihood and a second chance to live. Another project includes ‘Water for All’ which arranges for infrastructure to ensure a constant supply of water in slum areas.