Every family in Machar Colony has an average of 9 children therefore the largest age group in the community is 5 to 15 years. Statistically,
- 82.2% of the community is uneducated;
- 11.6% of the community is educated which also includes those who can only write their name;
- 33% of the children attend schools/madrassahs;
- 54% of children work in shrimp peeling factories;
- Non-existent recreational facilities, parks or playgrounds.
With 67 private schools and 9 government schools in the community, children are still found getting involved in anti-social activities on the streets such as drugs and violence or refuse to go to school due to corporal punishment and lack of infrastructure and facilities. Streets are the only playground for the children of the community. In 2015, a rundown shrimp peeling factory was turned into Machar Colony’s first recreational centre by Imkaan. Khel – a learning and recreational center – was developed to provide a safe space for the children of the community where they learn, play and grow.
The concept of Khel has been reimagined over the years. With the change in attitude and behaviour of the children, parents and the elders of the community had requested for education to be a part of everyday activities. A space trusted by families to secure learning, growth, development and protection of their children, Khel uses a holistic approach to child development, with focus on addressing the individual physical, mental and emotional needs of children.
Khel is divided into the following components:
Khel under its education component doesn’t follow a classroom structured curriculum. It has a multi age teaching structure where children are divided according to the learning level rather than age. This child centric approach helps in:
- Peer to Peer Learning
- Cross Age Interaction
- Continuous Reinforcement
- There are no grade-level comparisons and letter grades for the purpose of labeling. As a result, children are more likely to cooperate than compete. The spirit of cooperation and caring makes it possible for children to help each other as individuals, not see the other as a competitor.
Since its inception:
- Khel registers approximately 70 new children every year. With a total of 170 registered children for the year 2019-2020.
- Over 60+ children are a part of the mainstream education system. Those who did not know how to read and write have cleared entrance tests of Grade 1, 3 and some even for Grade 9.
- Inculcated knowledge on topics related to science, the world around them, the importance of generosity and hygiene and cleanliness.
- Parent participation reinforced the importance of education especially for the girl child and helped formulate a relationship between the parents and Khel for furtherance of our objectives.
The sports program of Khel focuses on:
- Skill development
- Physical exercise
- Character and moral principles
- Learn to respect authority, rules, team colleagues and opponents
- Help build positive self- esteem in children
Since the development of the sports program, the children at Khel have excelled in gymnastics and table tennis. Imkaan has been able to train both boys and girls to form teams that participate in games locally and internationally through on-line competitions. Trained by qualified coaches, the girls gymnastics team has been winning accolades at every local level game (team final, all-around, vault, uneven bars, balance beam, and floor exercise). The future is promising for these athletes given opportunities.
The second largest game globally, table tennis team was developed for the older children of the community who were looking for extracurricular activities after school and madarasah. Table tennis is taught at Khel to children aged 7 and above. The team has been participating in inter-school level games and have been runner ups in all after two years of practice. It takes consistent hard work of over ten years to develop to the top level. With qualified coaches for the table tennis federation, the team continues to learn and develop their skills. A component of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) has been added for those children who are not at Khel, they are being engaged through weekly classes.