The state of Odisha in Eastern India is one of the poorest states in India, with 33% of the population living in poverty (World Bank, 2016). Bhubaneswar, the capital city of Odisha, has a total population of 840,834, with a slum population of 301,611 (36%) living in 436 slum pockets (Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation, 2020).
The prevalence of gender disparity in these slums manifests itself in the public health and well-being concerns, impacting girls and women. In the slums of Bhubaneshwar one-fifth of girls are described as “developmentally vulnerable, having poor adaptive and cognitive functioning” (Kalinga Institute of Medical Sciences study, Panigrahi & Das, 2018). In addition, “one in three women in India aged 15–49 years experiences some form of physical or sexual violence during her lifetime” (National Family Health Survey, 2016), leads to a high prevalence of gender-based discrimination within communities in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Through the Community Table Tennis project, PSD Int uses Table Tennis as a vehicle for development through a structured, goal-oriented and gender-sensitive curriculum. The program provides girls and boys from slum communities in Bhubaneswar, Odisha with the tools to become gender-sensitive, confront harmful gender-based stereotypes and impact gender-perceptions of peers, family members and schoolteachers. PSD Int chooses to focus on youth as current and future leaders of their communities in order to address gender-based discrimination today and for the future.