‘I am happy, active and am able to wake up easily” shares Sharvin, 13, when asked about what benefits he gets from participating in games organized via My Skills. Shattish Kumar 15, aspires to represent Malaysia one day through the training received in playing football here; however, Dhanish, 16 prefers to occupy himself with the computer.

All three students had the opportunity of playing from before school under the watchful eyes of parents; and in school too through school weekly programmes or the weekend, particularly football. Given shortage of fields, lack of accessibility and other factors, children today, particularly those from the bottom 40 may increasingly not have many opportunities especially those from low cost flats.

Recognising the importance of physical activity and added benefits through games and sports, MySkills has included this as an essential component of skills training. The close proximity of the hostel to the Pandaram Sports complex is an added advantage. And the stadium near our Centre is a boost too. With the space available around the hostel, the students have a variety of sports to be involved in both site and outside.

They play basket ball, futsal, volley ball, football and badminton at the sports complex. Within the compound of the hostel, they are able to organize futsal giving an opportunity to many students as each game lasts several minutes. They also play badminton here though with limited rackets and shuttle cocks. They go swimming too; however given the current renovations swimming has to wait. There are also gym facilities in the hostel.

Students are organized into groups and take charge collecting the material required with the help of staff when playing in the hostel. Time for games is usually between 6pm to 7 pm during weekdays and of course when the weather is on their side. On Saturdays and Sundays, they are able to go to the Sports Complex, besides jogging there at about 530am sometimes in the week.

Generally there is much benefit from participating in sports and games, including the arguments and tensions arising sometimes. This certainly helps in conflict management and negates the need to use physical force to settle issues as may be the experience of some when in school/ home. There is always a group of students who act as ‘intermediaries’ and are able to diffuse tensions. They also play under the watch eye of the wardens. Sometimes, the students go to the stadium near our Centre for some games and physically activities as the situation warrants.

Physical exercise, staying active and healthy are important benefits. Team work and team building, planning, strategizing, exercise in patience, taking turns, waiting, determination are as essential. But plain fun, and building lasting friendships cannot be underestimated. These are life skills and also work place ingredients which My Skills has crafted into the life of the students thus preparing them to be gainfully employed. And becoming better persons all round.

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