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Grassroots Level Programmes

Father Vicente Ferrer’s work and the work of FVF, Spain are well known across Spain. So when tennis legend Rafael Nadal was looking for avenues to direct the efforts of his‘Fundación Rafa Nadal’, he kept being referred towards FVF, Spain and its work in Ananthapuram.

The aim of Fundación Rafa Nadal is primarily to provide opportunities to disadvantaged children for an enjoyable education & childhood, and Rafael Nadal being a tennis champion, the foundation’s efforts are also centred around tennis coaching. So, through FVF, the Fundación Rafa Nadal began discussions with RDT to run a tennis coaching cum education centre in India and on 17 October 2010, Rafa Nadal himself inaugurated the Nadal Educational & Tennis School (NETS) in Ananthapuram.  Being a professional tennis player, he sees the sport as a tool to bring children together.

This non-residential centre offers tennis training, training material, daily computer classes, nutritious food, competitive exposure and English classes to batches of students ranging from 1st standard to Graduation. A large proportion of its students are aged between 12 to 14 years. Tennis with its reputation of being an urban rich man’s game would not initially attract kids from suburban

villages. Conscious efforts were made by RDT to bring in children from the old town, which is the slum area of Ananthapuram city and from the villages of Rapthadu, Upparapalli, Chinmayanagar, Kalaakaarula colony, Itukalapalli and Akuthotapalli which are around Ananthapuram.

“I think of all the potential that lay unearthed in my generation and those before me. Future generations will have every chance to identify and hone their talents”
Name
Father of , Kalyandurg Secondary

There are 2 academic instructors and 3 full-time tennis coaches with international tennis players and coaches voluntarily supporting this project from time to time, coaching the children and refreshing the resident trainers’ skills. Aside from this, bi-annual health check-ups ensure that even the smallest health issues are not neglected.

Computer and English lessons are provided by dedicated and qualified teaching staff on a daily basis in designated computer labs and classrooms with free of cost access to school stationary. Periodic assessments are held to track the students’ academic progress.. NETS year-long nutrition programme provides the students with 2 nutritious snacks of banana and milk during the morning session and egg and Ragi (millet) malt during the evening session. A bus service is also provided to pick up children from far-off areas.

Laying of 3 clay courts and a building for education and recreation were completed in 2010 and by 2012-13, two more clay courts were added and floodlighting was provided for all 5 courts. NETS runs for both boys and girls from Under-6 to Under-16 age categories. A total of 68 girls and 104 boys participate regularly in the programme and are provided with Tennis equipment and clothing including rackets, balls, drill equipment and stringing machine. Sessions run twice daily in the mornings and evenings from Monday to Saturday. Today, nearly 200 children are enrolled at the centre, and receive world-class coaching in a game that was thought to be beyond their access till even a few years ago.

HIGHLIGHTS
 
STAFF SPEAK
 

“The children here are very dedicated and want to make the most of the training they receive. Maybe it is because of the hardships they have faced in life, but in general also, I find the students I teach here to be more competitive and committed, wanting to do the best they can. They see tennis as a way to rise beyond their circumstances and apply themselves at not just the game, but also their studies, in a way that more privileged children do not.”

Narsimhulu,
Assistant Coach, Fundación Rafa Nadal

SUCCESS STORY
 

Lenin Nagar is a small, badly regarded community in Ananthapuram which consists primarily of immigrants from the neighbouring districts. Majority of the population in Lenin Nagar works as domestic helpers and labourers in the local brick factory and very few of their children attend daily schools.

Dilip Verma is a bright, enthusiastic child from Lenin Nagar who first joined the NETS programme through a summer camp organised in 2012. The programme allows Dilip not only to hone his Tennis skills, but also receive daily English and Computer lessons, along with being provided a nutritious meal after each session. He is currently studying in class 4 at the Vengamanaidu Colony School, Lenin Nagar and is a talented, disciplined and passionate child who quickly grabs attention.

In addition to being the most talented Tennis player around, he has taken up the responsibility of being a leader among his peers. Shyness and rigidness have transformed into confidence and exuberance for this young boy who wants to serve his community wholeheartedly. RDT has been able to transform the basic attitude and approach of many children from Lenin Nagar through Tennis, and have made them realise that sports can also aid in their holistic development while improving the standing of the entire community in the eyes of society at large.

“I want to be a gentleman and a perfect role model for my community and inspire all the budding tennis players from my region”

Dilip Verma,
Lenin Nagar

PARADIGM SHIFT
 

Today, Ananthapuram produces shining examples of excellence in many fields, including sports via the ASV. This is what led an international sporting figure like Rafael Nadal to come here to devote his time and energy in founding the Nadal Education Cum Sports Coaching Centre.

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