The Ladies’ Turn global outreach campaign continues to create awareness of women in Senegal struggling to be heard both on and off the soccer pitch. Through our award winning documentary film, directed by Helene Harder, we tell the story of these courageous women who are fighting for the right to play soccer, a space where many believe women do not belong. In doing so, we show how women are taking on new leadership roles in their communities while demanding greater societal acceptance for what they can accomplish both on and off the field. With each film screening, Ladies Turn is not merely stirring a passion for the women’s game; we are inciting social change.
Last month our documentary was selected to screen at the film festival Films, Femmes, Méditerranée in Marseille, France. Director Helene Harder teamed up with Ladies’ Turn President Seyni Ndir Seck to participate in a lively public discussion about Ladies’ Turn following the screening of the film. Our presence in the festival stirred an enthusiastic interest in the role that sports can play in the struggle for women’s rights both in Senegal and beyond. Helene and Seyni were even featured on the regional news (Channel 3) and interviewed about their experience in Senegal! Our participation in mediatized events is a crucial step in shattering beliefs about femininity that subtly keep women out of important roles. As Helene states in the France 3 interview “women’s struggle on the soccer field as well as in the field of cinema is far from being won…these initiatives are extremely important to generate awareness about the conditions of women’s lives around the world.”
Ladies’ Turn has appeared in several Film Festivals over the past few months. This May, we participated in the CineFoot Film Festival in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, Brazil. The CineFoot Festival aims to show fans that soccer is more than a game, by exploring the impact of soccer in society. CineFoot was a perfect venue to share our experience of how soccer can be a vehicle for equality. In July we were selected to appear in the Rwanda Film Festival in the city of Kigali. This year’s theme was women in society, and proved to be an ideal opportunity to showcase the change making work that women soccer players are undertaking in Senegal. In August, we were nominated for feature documentary at the Tiger Paw Sports Film Festival held in New Delhi, India. We will soon be screening Ladies’ Turn at Duke University in North Carolina and in Montréal, Canada as well as in Mans and Evreux, France. With each screening we build a global community of support for the women in Senegal who are struggling to make a mark in society through their involvement in soccer. If you are interested in learning more about how you could bring Ladies' Turn, the film, to a venue near you, please contact us at email@example.com.
From all of us at Ladies Turn, we thank you for being on our team!
Nio Far ( we are in it together)
The sun was scorching and the music was blaring. This was the moment the girls (and the Ladies Turn team) had been preparing for all season: the grand finale between Médina Marmiyal of Saint Louis and Amazones de Ndoffane of Kaolack. From the stands, Saint Louis supporters held their breath as # 11, a slight, energetic player from Saint Louis dribbled down the field, outsmarting and outrunning Kaolack’s (Ndoffane) defense.
I placed my camera beside me, caught up in the excitement, I stood up, clasping my hands together in front of my mouth and shouting for her to take the shot. Time seemed to stand still. She lifted her foot with finesse and strength, sending the ball straight into the net! It was a perfect goal. Nothing but net. Leaping to congratulate her, number 11’s teammates threw their arms around her shoulders, holding her tight, screaming in elation. Kneeling on the sidelines, I watched in awe as the crowd behind me went wild. A group of teenage girls in the stands were chanting in Wolof, dancing, shaking their hips, their arms interlocked as they shouted out number 11’s name.
Their enthusiasm caught on like fire, soon half the stadium joined in. The game wasn’t over yet, and as the chanting died down, the team lined up for the kick off. I looked closely at number 11, who kept smiling, serenely. In the span of a few minutes, something about her had changed; supported by her friends and community, she had accomplished something HUGE in front of a crowd screaming her name. A spark of confidence radiated from her smile, and I just knew her life would never be the same.
Ladies Turn is about helping girls realize their potential to have an impact in their world and developing the courage to do so. Our 2013 tournament touched the lives of over 300 girls, who learned through teamwork and dedication that reaching their goal is possible. Community members saw their daughters, neighbors, friends or sisters accomplish something special, in a space, which is normally reserved for boys. The girls had fun, the crowds had fun, and women’s soccer is the talk of the town. We congratulate you for your role in making Ladies Turn 2013 a success!
As our organization evolves, we want to ensure that the girls who participate in Ladies Turn have the greatest opportunity to impact their communities. We believe that providing educational support to participants, in addition to organizing a national Tournament, is the first step to making the girls’ dreams a reality. We promise to keep you informed as our activities grow!
Beth, Jennifer and the entire Ladies Turn team thank you once again for helping us score!
The 2013 Ladies’ Turn season thusfar has been a huge success!
In each of the four regions (Saint Louis, Thies, Kaolack, and Kaffrine), girls’ teams fought to reach the semifinals and represent their region. Regular season games were played on central neighborhood fields so that as many people as possible would see girls playing soccer. Crowds gathered when they heard hit senegalese songs blasted by our DJs, and stayed to watch the game. Our matches were covered by the press, raising the visibility of women’s soccer from the local neighborhood field to the regional and national level.
For our playoffs, Ladies’ Turn organized two very different but fun semifinals.
For more pictures of the semifinals, check out below and on our Facebook page:
Kounghel Semifinal Photos
U.S. Embassy Semifinal Photos
The U.S. Embassy hosted the first semifinal between the Saint Louis champion, Médina Marmyal and the Thies champion, Union Sportive Thiessoise. Saint Louis is the former colonial capital in the north of Senegal near the border with Mauritania, and Thies is a city about 60 kilometers from Dakar. The teams played on the Embassy’s Ebbets Field in Dakar on grass after playing all of their games on sand fields. Médina Marmyal won 3-2 in penalty kicks and secured Saint Louis’ spot in the final which will be played in their hometown.
Kounghuel hosted the second semifinal on a central field in their town. The Kaoclak champions, the Amazones of Ndoffane, traveled 2 hours to Kounghuel to play the champions of Kaffrine. Unfortunately for the champion Maali team of Kounghuel, the home field advantage was not enough. The Amazones dominated the game and won 1-0.
In addition to our games, the Ladies' Turn documentary continues to bring us more fans. Our documentary was shown on national television in Senegal two weeks ago. It was also screened at night outside in downtown Dakar during the Festival Image and Vie.
For the moment, we are getting ready for our final today in Saint Louis! We’ll get back to you about what region, Saint Louis or Kaolack, wins the title of 2013 Ladies’ Turn champion! You can follow the Final today, Sunday June 23 at 11am East Coast Time.
Thank you again for your support help.
Nio Far! "In solidarity,"
Jennifer and the Ladies’ Turn Team
A few days ago I received a phone call from Lala, a former 2009 and 2011 Ladies Turn participant and coach of a beginner’s team in Saint Louis, Senegal. I could actually feel the excitement in her voice resonate through the telephone as she exclaimed: “we just had our first practice, we have twenty girls and the parents came out to support us. Pray for us, we’re ready!”
Ladies Turn 2013 kicked off in the regions of Thiès, Saint-Louis, Kaolack and Kounguel regions of Senegal this past weekend (18th-19th of May)! Tournament games will be played every Wednesday and Saturday through the 5th of June in local neighborhoods. Lala and her team hope to make it to the play-offs, which will be held on the 12th and 15th of June, and the GRAND FINAL in Saint Louis the 22nd of June! You can follow the action through live updates, learn more about the teams, players and the regions where the tournament takes place by liking us on Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/LadiesTurnSoccer?fref=ts Or follow us on twitter @LadiesTurn
This year, Ladies Turn decided to do things a bit differently. In order to better accomplish our goal of increasing the visibility of women’s soccer throughout the country, we decided to decentralize our tournament, this means playing in regions where girls playing soccer is less common than in the capital city of Dakar. After a strategic assessment of various locations, taking into account the enthusiasm of local girls and feasibility of location, we chose the urban regions of Thiès and Saint-Louis and the rural regions of Kaolack and Kounguel.
Unlike past tournaments, this year Ladies Turn is entirely reserved for beginner level girl’s. We wrestled long and hard with this decision, but in the end chose to include only beginner girls in hopes of starting from the ground up to build support for the growing women’s soccer movement in Senegal. We want former players like Lala to engage and take ownership in this movement, looking beyond the tournament, to the future of women’s soccer in Senegal.
Like Lala shared with me, “I’m doing this because, well, I’m getting older, I’m not going to be playing much longer, the future of women’s soccer in Senegal, it lies in the hands of these girls, it will just go away if we don’t do something about it”. Through passionate women like Lala, girls are learning to stand out in spaces where people don’t think they belong. With each step on the soccer pitch, their voices grow a little bit louder. Ladies Turn is about much more than gaining soccer skills, it is empowerment in action.
Together with the girls, we thank you for being a part of our Ladies' Turn team,
Beth, Jennifer and all of us at Ladies Turn
Great news! Thanks to you generous donations, Ladies’ Turn surpassed Global Giving’s new organization challenge of raising $5,000! We raised over $6,000 and a permanent spot on the Global Giving website! While we are still fundraising for our 2013 season, our place on Global Giving is key to ensuring that we have the resources to allow young women in Senegal to play soccer.
This winter, the Ladies’ Turn documentary is touring throughout Europe and finally made it to the US! We screened the film at the Woodrow Wilson School at Princeton University on February 13, 2013 (Photos). The film allows Ladies’ Turn to share our story and give people a glimpse into the lives of the Senegalese girls who dare to play soccer. At Princeton, the university women’s soccer team attended, showing the solidarity that exists between women who play soccer around the world. Their captain asked Gaelle Yomi, our Communications Manager, in town from Dakar, and Jennifer Browning about the challenges women face playing soccer in Senegal (Article). Princeton is also displaying a collection of photos from the Ladies’ Turn 2011 season.
If you have not seen our three-minute trailer, check it out! If you would be interested in organizing a documentary screening party to benefit Ladies’ Turn, please let us know (firstname.lastname@example.org). We still need to raise more money to get the girls back on the field in Senegal!
Thank you again for your support and for being part of the women’s soccer movement in Senegal!
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