IDSDP: Kafka Welfare Organization 

Author: Umair Asif   Post Dated: 6th April 2021

Kafka Welfare Organization is a non-profit organization based in Pakistan that has been using Sports as a Social tool to engage young people and children. Our SDP program has brought smiles to the faces of children, girls, and youth. 

I lead Kafka as founding Executive Director and since 2015 we have included SDP as a core program of our activities. My engagement with UNOSDP’s young leaders program has helped us to develop a social sports program. We engage young people through systematic team-based sports/physical activities. We teach young people life skills, social and moral values. 

Our SDP program has boosted the confidence, happiness, self-esteem of young people. When they play together they become more responsible, trust each other and develop a sense of belonging for each other. Through qualitative interviews and focus group discussions, we have witnessed improvement in the mental and physical health of young people. The positive sociological and psychological factors prevent negative factors behind radicalization and violent extremism involvement of young people. So, we have observed a good help contributed by our activities to prevent violent extremism among young people in Pakistan.

We have dragged our program toward violent extremism prevention through sports as our region has been a victim of violent extremism. Pakistan has lost 80,000 human lives with $102 billion in economic damage plus a great loss of social and cultural values. Literature has highlighted when issues are complex sports can become a useful tool to tackle problems.

Photo credit: Kafka Welfare Organization
Photo credit: Kafka Welfare Organization
Photo credit: Kafka Welfare Organization

Implementing such programs is not an easy task around the world. Here in Pakistan, it was also not easy. Sport is still an underdeveloped field and we don’t have SDP in our universities. Similarly, our public organizations are not practicing SDP and only we are relying on local SDP organizations and global north setups such as the right to play. I believe we need a lot more effort to promote SDP as it has helped to engage isolated young people back into society through team-based integration activities. Isolated young people could get involved in drugs, violent extremism, and crimes if they don’t get positive engagement opportunities.

I opted for sports as development tool as I am among people who believe in the social power of sports. I also believe it has the potential to contribute to sustainable development, gender equality, and peace. Within sports I get lessons to complete and achieve our objectives in the best possible ways by simply following sportsman spirit and integrity. Sports values such as fairness, determination, motivation, tolerance, focus, empathy, and growth mindset always help me to do my best efforts to attain the best outcomes.

Our efforts were not only limited to Pakistan as I have also worked with reconciled North-Korean children in South Korea to integrate them back in the society with Football for Peace South Korea. In addition, Kafka has been going live to deal with the Covid-19 situation and we have been organizing international webinars to fight against Covid-19 and to united global sports leaders.