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Sep 2, 2015

Vive Soccer and Education! And our DC connection!

Andre Guillabert Middle School Team ready to play!
Andre Guillabert Middle School Team ready to play!

At our final tournament day on June 3rd, the mbalax music was blasting as the girls took the field at High School in Saint Louis, Senegal.  The crowd cheered on the girls’ teams at André Guillabert Middle School. The music, the cheers this time were for girls’ soccer but also for soccer as a tool to help keep girls in school.

In total, over 270 girls from schools in 5 regions participated in our new tournament format. We are now partnering with middle schools to ensure that girls’ soccer teams will have the structure in which to flourish. Ladies’ Turn donated jerseys and balls to the schools’ girls teams so that they could continue to play in this coming school year.

Most importantly, in a country where many girls drop out before high school, we hope that soccer at the precarious middle school stage can be one more way to keep girls in school.  To further this goal, Ladies’ Turn will also be providing scholarships in the form of school materials (notebooks, pens, and books) to all players in our partner schools who finish the school year in the top ten of their grade. We hope this will encourage the girls to keep up the good work both on and off the field! However, we also do not want girls to stop going to school because their families cannot afford school books for the year- a common problem in Senegal. Thus, we also will be donating school books to our partner middle schools to give to the neediest students.

Finally, Ladies’ Turn would like to give a huge thanks to you, our supporters.You made our new girls’ soccer-education partnership possible.

We’d like to especially highlight District Sports www.districtsports.org, a community soccer organization in Washington, DC. Their spring league teams opted to donate to Ladies’ Turn instead of receiving new jerseys so that we could purchase jerseys for girls in Senegal. Thanks to their generosity, they raised $5,000 dollars for us! I’m from DC, grew up playing girls’ soccer both on weekends and for my public school, and have played in District Sports’ summer leagues. They are an amazing organization- a model for us. It thus means a lot us to have their support from across the ocean. Check them out if you are in DC and itching to play!

Our success in May encourages us to continue partnering with schools to expand girls’ soccer and keep girls in school.  Let’s give girls the chance to play and to study!

Jerejef! Nio far, Wolof for "Thank you! We are in this together,"

Jennifer and the Ladies' Turn Team

Defending the goal! But we could use some new nets
Defending the goal! But we could use some new nets
A crowd gathers to watch the girls play.
A crowd gathers to watch the girls play.
District Sports Partnership helped donate jerseys.
District Sports Partnership helped donate jerseys.
Soccer in Senegal is a sandy sport. Power kick!
Soccer in Senegal is a sandy sport. Power kick!

Links:

Jun 1, 2015

After delay, Ladies' Turn off to a great start!

Girls run under the banner for Suzanne M. Bianchi
Girls run under the banner for Suzanne M. Bianchi

Ladies’ Turn and women’s soccer still face major challenges in Senegal. While we got off to a great start on May 8, this was later than our original May 3 start date. As the field we had reserved weeks before in Dakar cancelled and then our backup field revoked their promise in order schedule men’s games, the girls didn’t have a place to play. It was a frustrating reminder that while we have made lots of progress, we still have lots of work to go. Your support makes change, little by little, possible.

However, such setbacks only strengthen our resolve. Ladies’ Turn's first games were held on May 8 and 9 in Fatick and Kaolack. This year, we are working with schools to use soccer as a tool to keep girls in school. It’s only fitting then that this tournament is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Suzanne M. Bianchi, who was such a believer in women’s education and women’s sports. Before start of each set of games, Seyni, our President, explains who she was and why we are honoring her. Then a moment of silence is held.

After Fatick and Kaolack, Ladies’ Turn moved on to Kaffrine (Koungheul) on May 16 and 17. Ladies’ Turn then organized a non-stop tournament day on May 23 in Thies. Everywhere the atmosphere has been electric. Girls just like to play!

Tomorrow on May 30, we will hold our final non-stop tournament games in the beautiful city of Saint Louis. We are donating balls and penneys to each school so they can take girls’ soccer forward this year.

We will update you after the final games. Thank you again for donating to Ladies' Turn!

Nio far,

Jennifer and the Ladies' Turn team

Girls play- in Senegal, soccer is a sand sport.
Girls play- in Senegal, soccer is a sand sport.
We play on central fields to draw large crowds.
We play on central fields to draw large crowds.
Team photo!
Team photo!
Seyni and our partners award prizes after the game
Seyni and our partners award prizes after the game

Links:

Apr 29, 2015

Let the games begin! Ladies' Turn 2015 starts May 3

A Car Rapide brings a girls
A Car Rapide brings a girls' team to the game.

Wahoo! The 2015 Ladies’ Turn tournament will open THIS Sunday, May 3 in Dakar, Senegal. We and the budding girl soccer stars are very excited.

Over 600 girls are scheduled to play soccer throughout May, many for the very first time! This year, we decided to expand to 6 regions total (instead of 8) to ensure we don’t spread ourselves too thin. Non-stop one day tournaments will be held in the regions of Dakar, Thies, Fatick, Kaolack, Saint Louis, and Kaffrine. Next tournament, we plan to expand to 8 or more.

We are working with schools this year to use soccer as a tool to encourage girls to stay in school. 

Non-Stop Tournament Schedule:

May 3- Dakar

May 8- Kaolack

May 9- Fatick

May 16 & 17- Kaffrine

May 23- Thies

May 30- Saint Louis

We’ll update you regularly this month on the tournament’s progress. Right now, we can't say  thank you enough for your support! We couldn’t do it without you.

Ku men sa morom duma. Wolof for “May the best team win!” 

Now, let the games begin!

Girls stretch and discuss strategy for the game.
Girls stretch and discuss strategy for the game.
A player warms up! We
A player warms up! We're ready! Kickoff Time!
 
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