[Think Sport] Football for girls' empowerment - a road journey from India to Switzerland

21st Dec 2009
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Dharmesh Mistry is a contributing writer to Think Sport.

Franz Gastler, director and co-founder of Yuwa, and Willem Grimminck, an anti-human trafficking specialist, left the TATA Football Academy in Jamshedpur on Saturday, December 5th, and are on their way to the FIFA Headquarters in Switzerland by motorcycle to raise awareness for youth football as a tool for development in South Asia. Their project ‘My Game is Beautiful’ seeks

to tell the story or how football is rewriting expectations, building life-skills and empowering young women to make a change in their world. In Zurich we will present the case for FIFA’s larger involvement in this important region, as well as build and strengthen our Yuwa coalition with partners inside and outside of South Asia.

Yuwa is using a ‘3D’ football process to spread the word about the My Game is Beautiful initiative. The process includes:

Discovery: Sensitize NGO’s and governments to think about football as a tool for social development, and initiate collaboration with organizations who already do.
Development: Reach out to decision-makers outside South Asia who have the interest and authority to do something about it.
Delivery: Capture the passion of young women footballers by launching 20 football games in two and a half months time.

Yuwa’s efforts to empower girls in Jharkhand through football were recently covered in the Hindustan Times article “Bend it like Beckhambhai” which explains that since the program started in February, the results have been encouraging and that “the girls are learning to juggle their football with housework and, at times, schoolwork.”

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