Indian girls’ sports programme wins Laureus World Sports Award
Indian girls’ sports programme wins Laureus World Sports Award
  • Mercedes-Benz India teamed up with Laureus Sport For Good to fund sport-based programme, YUWA in India
  • Yuwa aims to equip girls and young women in Jharkhand, India, with education, self-confidence and leadership skills and thus protect them against social discrimination
  •  Mercedes-Benz India also supports various social initiatives under its ‘Mercedes for India’ philosophy, influencing education and environmental sustenance

Pune: YUWA (Hindi for ‘Youth’) is the name of the programme, which received the Sport for Good Award at the Laureus World Sports Awards in Monaco. This decision honors an initiative, which gives girls in the northern Indian state of Jharkhand the tools to take their future into their own hands. Mercedes-Benz has been supporting Laureus Sport for Good since 2000.


Mercedes-Benz supports the work of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in India. Bettina Fetzer, Vice President Mercedes-Benz Marketing and Member of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation, on Yuwa and winning the award: "It is particularly important to us that Yuwa has won the 2019 Laureus Sport for Good Award with a project for disadvantaged girls. Because in many regions of the world, girls and women are still more likely to be affected by poverty and discrimination. Mercedes-Benz and Laureus are therefore focusing their commitment on projects, which empower women and girls and open up new perspectives for them. Together we want to use the power
of sport to instil confidence and leadership skills in them and arm them against, gender clichés and prejudices."


Mr. Martin Schwenk, MD & CEO, Mercedes-Benz India said, “We at Mercedes-Benz work in tandem with Laureus to reach a common goal of empowering women and children. As a socially responsible corporate citizen, at Mercedes-Benz we have a philosophy of social contribution beyond business. We believe in creating a support ecosystem to encourage and make a difference to their lives. It is our constant endeavour to build confidence and contribute towards cultivating and nurturing the citizens of tomorrow. We are proud of the positive change driven by YUWA by empowering girls and women. We believe that sport has the power to change as we strive to keep this momentum high and contribute to the society in our own ways to build a better future for all.”


As is the case with all Laureus-supported programmes, Yuwa utilizes the power of sport to help disadvantaged children and young people. At Yuwa, the participants play football on a daily basis and regularly take part in team competitions. Many of the older girls also work for Yuwa as coaches, earning their own money, which in turn helps foster their independence. In addition to this Yuwa also offers a full school education in English for around 450 girls. In turn, Yuwa helps the young women overcome poverty and discrimination in the region, enabling them shape their own future.


The 2019 Sport for Good Award was presented to Yuwa founders Franz Kastler and Rose Gastler Thomson, and programme participants Neeta Kumari, Hema Kumari, Konika Kumari, and Radha Kumari in Monaco. Franz Gastler is from the Unites States of America and has been living in India since 2007. He has worked there in roles such as an Advisor at the NGO "Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)" and as a teacher and sports coach. Rose Gastler Thomson joined Yuwa in 2012 and in 2015 established the Yuwa School, which she heads.


Laureus and Mercedes-Benz


"Sport has the power to change the world.” The Laureus Sport for Good aims to fight against discrimination and disadvantage faced by children and young people. Mercedes-Benz co-founded Laureus Sport for Good and its cooperation with Sport for Good has now become the most important aspect of the brand's social commitment. Laureus and Mercedes-Benz work together to offer disadvantaged young people all over the world a future: through sport the children discover their strengths and learn to bring out the very best in themselves – important experiences from which they stand to benefit throughout their life. Laureus and Mercedes-Benz complement one another perfectly here, as they share the same values and believe in the power of passion, determination and perseverance. Mercedes-Benz uses these key competences in the development of automotive innovations. Laureus teaches young, disadvantaged people these qualities through sport.


About Laureus


Laureus is a global organization that celebrates sporting excellence and uses the power of sport to transform the lives of children and young people. Laureus unites Laureus Sport for Good, the Laureus World Sports Academy, and the Laureus Sport for Good Ambassadors and the Laureus World Sports Awards in one unique organization, which uses the power of sport to do good.


Laureus Sport for Good was inspired by the words of its Founding Patron, Nelson Mandela, who said at the first ever Laureus Awards in 2000, “Sport has the power to change the world.”


In 2018, nearly 300,000 young people from all over the world directly benefited from more than 160 Laureus Sport for Good supported programmes, run by grassroots organisations, which are deeply embedded in their local communities and understand how to use sport to overcome the hurdles faced by local kids. We support these organisations with funding and knowledge sharing, and all the work we support is measured against charitable standards set out by the United Nations, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals.


A global leader in the sport for development sector, Laureus Sport for Good carries the endorsement and support of the Laureus World Sports Academy and Ambassadors, all role models and icons of sport, who volunteer their time to this important cause.


The Laureus World Sports Academy is a unique group of sporting legends, each of whom reached the very highest level of achievement and collectively created many of sports most iconic moments.


Each year, under the chairmanship of former All Blacks captain Sean Fitzpatrick, the Academy members come together to perform the vital role of voting for the winners of the Laureus Awards, and this endorsement from an iconic group of sporting legends helps to make the Awards the most prestigious in global sport.


Academy members all share a belief in the power of sport to transform the lives of young people around the world, volunteering their time to support the work of Laureus Sport for Good. Throughout the year, many Academy members visit Sport for Good programmes, helping to engage and inspire the young people taking part.


Laureus is also privileged to be supported by the Laureus Ambassadors, a group of over 200 current or recently retired sports men and women who have achieved sporting greatness or made significant contributions to the sporting community. Ambassadors support the work of the Academy and of our Foundations around the world by giving their time to support programmes on the ground. A full list of the Ambassadors is available at

The Laureus World Sports Awards is the premier global sporting awards. First held in 2000, the annual event honours the greatest and most inspirational sporting triumphs of the year and showcases the work of Laureus Sport for Good.


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About Mercedes-Benz India:


Established in 1994, Mercedes-Benz India which celebrates its 25th anniversary in India, pioneered the luxury car market in the country and boasts of more than 130 years of cutting-edge innovation in the luxury automobile industry globally. Set up in 2009, Mercedes-Benz India’s world class production facility is spread over 100 acres in Chakan near Pune. Since June 2015, Mercedes-Benz India also commenced production from its new expanded production facility located in the same premise. Mercedes-Benz India is part of Mercedes Benz’s Global Production Network. It plays an important role in the CKD/MVP production network in Brazil, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam. At these locations, Mercedes Benz produces vehicles in various extension levels for domestic markets. The production facility now carries an investment of INR 2,200 crores and has the largest installed production capacity for any luxury carmaker in India.


Mercedes-Benz India also has the largest network spread amongst any luxury carmaker, with presence in 47 Indian cities through 93 outlets. Through the exclusive AMG Performance Centres located in 6 cities including Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, Bangalore, Kochi, and Pune; the AMG performance sub-brand of Mercedes-Benz also boasts of a strong retail network presence in the country.


Mercedes-Benz India’s flagship programme, ‘My Mercedes, My Service’ launched in 2016, aims to completely redefine the after-sales experience by digitalizing service process and create unparalleled benchmark in the luxury car service domain. In December 2017, Mercedes-Benz India launched its innovative ‘Pit Stop Service’ across all AMG Performance Centre to create service differentiation. This speedy, personalized and priority service is a commitment to the AMG and Specialty Cars
customers, in driving delightful vehicle ownership. ‘My Mercedes, My Service’ aims at enhancing the customer’s vehicle ownership experience manifold, making after-sales experience as the new differentiator in the luxury car segment. With the use of big data and in-depth knowledge of the driving pattern of Indian customers, Mercedes-Benz has been able to drive successfully low cost of ownership for its customers. A testimony of all these initiatives is reflected in 2018 JD Power Sales Satisfaction Index (SSI) and Customer Satisfaction Index (CSI), which ranks Mercedes-Benz India at the top, with a score of 903.


Mercedes-Benz India product portfolio comprises the locally produced Mercedes Maybach S 560, S-Class, E-Class Long Wheelbase, C-Class, CLA luxury sedans and the GLA, GLE and the GLS luxury SUVs. The CKD GLC was the ninth product added to Mercedes-Benz’s local production portfolio. Completely Built imported cars portfolio includes the A-Class, B-Class, CLS, E-Class Cabriolet, E-Class All-Terrain, S-Class Coupé, C-Class Cabriolet, S-Class Cabriolet and the S 600 Guard, plus a range of other Guard vehicles.


The product portfolio also comprises the iconic off-roader Mercedes-AMG G 63 as well as a wide range of other Mercedes-AMG performance cars like the AMG CLA 45, AMG C 63 S, AMG E 63 S, AMG S 63 Coupe, AMG S 63 Sedan, AMG GLA 45, AMG GLC 43 Coupe, AMG GLE 43 Coupe, AMG GT S, AMG GT R and AMG GT Roadster sports car, AMG SLC 43, AMG C 43. Mercedes-Benz India recorded retail sales of 15,538 units in the period January-December 2018. In 2019, ‘The Best Never Rest’ is Mercedes-Benz’s brand motto.