One of our newest and most exciting initiatives is “Barefoot Basketball,” in which we’ve been setting up basketball half courts in rural villages of Pakistan. In many cases, the villagers haven’t even ever heard of the sport before. In some villages, the children play barefoot, hence the initiative’s name.
Impoverished and displaced youth in rural areas sometimes get caught up in criminal gangs or fall prey to drug addiction.
This initiative gives these youth something fun, exciting, healthy, and productive to get into and be passionate about, instead of heading in the wrong direction.
Impoverished and displaced youth in the area sometimes get caught up in criminal gangs or fall prey to drug addiction. The goal of this initiative is to give these youth something fun, exciting, healthy, and productive to get into and be passionate about, instead of heading in the wrong direction.
Pervaiz Lodhie, LEDtronics CEO and LED lighting pioneer, Masood Lohar, United Nations Pakistan Country Director, and Shahid Siddique, Shaan Technologies Plant Manager (a division of LEDtronics), started Barefoot Basketball in May 2012. This initiative provides basketball half-courts with solar-powered LED lighting to rural, poverty-stricken villages worldwide.
“The idea behind the basketball courts was to encourage the youth with values like teamwork and physical exercise, instead of heading down the wrong path towards drugs, gangs and crime,” states Siddique. “I personally feel that this initiative directly or indirectly helps in better interaction among the different clans who normally avoid contact, thus working as a catalyst for nation-building.”
“The lights that we implemented were meant for the Barefoot Basketball courts, but technically, they have become a meeting point for all of the community members,” states Lohar. “Now, children read and do their homework, elders discuss various matters, and women do embroidery and complete their chores under the cool light at the basketball courts.”
So far, the initiative has been a huge success and has been extremely well-received by the villages. Barefoot Basketball has even gotten the attention of U.S. Aid, as well as the deep involvement of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
The underlying benefits that Barefoot Basketball presents are truly great. It empowers the youth to take charge of their lives, which can help develop the nation as a democracy. Also, bringing an American sport to Pakistan can tremendously improve international relations between the two countries, as well as others that the initiative is taken to.