We have seen time and again that sports and physical education is a hugely ignored part of the Indian education system. In a country where each and every percent counts and where losing 1 % means having to go to a college miles away, there sure is no place or time for sports and physical education. However, this dangerous trend of lack of physical fitness in children is leading to a lot of health problems and is preventing the kids from learning important life skills. “We believe that knowing how to swim is a very essential life skill that every person has to have,” says Nikhil Laddha, founder of KinderSports and H2O Pools – India. In this chat with Techstory, Nikhil talks about why essential life skills such as swimming are lagging in the children of our country, about his venture – H2O pools and about how he plans to teach swimming to a million kids across India.
Swimming – The Art For The Rich ?
The swimming scene in India right now is dominated by Clubs. Clubs have a certain membership and if you can pay the membership and coach fees then you can learn to swim.So unless you have a lot of money to pay these clubs, you are basically not going to acquire this essential life skill. And professional swimming has therefore become a “rich mans game” in our country.
“At KinderSports we believe that school is where kids spend a lot of their time in the day and this is where the essential life skills need to be taught. School is the best place to reach maximum number of kids and teach them this essential skill. Also the cost of aquatic education hugely reduces with mass scale. School is therefore the best and the most practical way to tech this sport,” says Nikhil.
However, a very few schools (less than 1% ) have their own swimming pools and have included swimming as a part of their curriculum. “The problem again is that of costs. Building a pool takes crores of rupees of investment. Schools also need to allocate a large part of their space and infrastructure for creating a swimming pool and therefore are reluctant to go this way,” adds Nikhil.
About H2O Pools
According to Nikhil, the only way this entire problem could be solved is by providing schools with a solution that is cost effective and yet does not reduce the quality of learning. That is how he came up with the concept of H2O pools.
H2O swimming pools can be build above the ground thereby removing the space constraint as schools can now build these pools on their terraces as well. Building pools above the ground also significantly reduces cost. (H2O pools can be built at 35 to 40 percent less cost than conventional pools). These pools built with fibre glass material are extremely steady and provide the same quality of swimming experience as any other high end pool. While conventional pools take atleast 6 month to build,H2O pools can be created within 2 months time frame and have a life span of about 20 years. The video below describes how H2O pools can be build quickly and easily.
Nikhil is currently tying up with schools to make swimming a part of their educational curriculum. Nikhil is working with schools through a build-operate-transfer or BOT model where in Nikhil’s team sets up the pool inside the school, operates the pools and then after a certain timeframe transfers the pool to the school. By following this model, all the school needs to do is to give permission to set up the pool inside the school premises and make swimming a part of their curriculum. No high costs need to be spent by the school upfront to set up the pool. Nikhil’s team is currently charging nominal fees of 1.5 to 2 dollars per student per month for teaching them swimming.
About The Founder
Nikhil Laddha is the founder and CEO of KinderSports which operates H2O Pools.Started in August 2011, KinderSports operates in the area of providing sports education to kids below the age of 12. The company currently specializes in swimming and gymnastics and is looking to foray into more sports.
Nikhil himself has been a swimmer since his school days and has represented his school, college and university in swimming competitions. Nikhil is an Enginner and an MBA. While pursuing his MBA in Australia, Nikhil was simultaneously getting himself trained to be a professional swimming coach. That is when his passion for teaching swimming grew and Nikhil has taught swimming in Australia, Singapore and Shanghai since then. After teaching his favorite sport across the world, Nikhil is now working towards making sure that each and every kid in his country gets to learn this sport.
In Times To Come
Nikhil and his team are currently working on creating a modular way for building H2O pools so that smaller panels can be manufactured in pieces and assembled at the location. This will further reduce the time and cost associated with building the pool.
Nikhil is working with a long term goal of teaching a million kids in India to swim. “We will need about 1000 pools to be installed for that. That is the goal I am working towards right now,” he tells us.