Through team sport, Yuwa provides a platform for young women to make a change in their world.
Yuwa is an organisation with roots in the state of Jharkhand, in North Central India, a region infamous for child marriage, human trafficking and lack of opportunities for girls. Yuwa started its first football club in February 2009 for the young girls in the area, providing an escape from the day-to-day grind of their lives. Through football, Yuwa has gotten girls back into school, and is combating child marriage and human trafficking. It has since expanded to 250 girls covering 15 villages.
The program is run by the community for the community. The girls are put in charge of their own program. They find their own fields, buy their own footballs and set their own practice schedules. They contribute financially as well for football kit, through team-run savings cooperatives. Yuwa’s coaches have 3 simple rules: 1. Don't talk too much, 2. Show, don't tell, and 3. Positive reinforcement—always. The end result is empowered girls taking charge of their own futures...and damn good football—four girls from Yuwa have even been selected for the India National Team.
But Yuwa is not just about football. When a girl organizes or joins a Yuwa team, through positive peer pressure she becomes a more regular student—players elect team captains, who keep track of school attendance, and many girls attend daily study sessions at Yuwa Club. She pays attention to her own health and to the health of her teammates, and gets access to information about her body through weekly adolescent health classes with her teammates. She marries when she chooses—on Yuwa's first team, not a single girl has gotten married below the age of 18, even though several of their older sisters had been married off at age 15. She will raise a healthy family. The cycle continues.
Now, Yuwa will be starting a program in Dharavi in May 2012, with the goal of engaging 70 young girls in the first year.
Awards & Recognition
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