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Feb 11, 2014

Ladies' turns to education !

P.E. Teacher, Coach in Thies mentoring her team
P.E. Teacher, Coach in Thies mentoring her team

Since 2009 Ladies Turn has brought the joy of soccer to thousands of girls and women throughout Senegal. With every kick-off, these girls are publicly shattering restrictive beliefs about what women are capable of and where they belong in their society. Many participants have shared with us that through their experience; they had an opportunity to develop valuable leadership skills and relationships outside of the home. Being a part of a team, led by strong women mentors and encouraging, supportive men role models, has fostered an environment of self-respect and confidence among Ladies’ Turn participants. We consider this an essential step in cultivating community change makers. Our activities have incited girls to take responsibility for their future as well as cultivated a desire to work with others to achieve the changes they want to see. We recognize however that this is only the first step in empowering girls to become active voices in their community.

 In reality, the majority of the Ladies’ Turn participants lack the tools necessary to express themselves publicly and to showcase their ideas and viewpoints. Faced with a sundry of economic and gender obstacles, girls often leave school at a very early age in Senegal. This is especially relevant among poorer populations where the burden of housework and childcare weighs heavily on the shoulders of young women and the hope for family mobility lies in the hands of young men. Often girls are encouraged to partake in non-scholastic activities, to provide immediate supplementary income, and the value of their education is pushed to the back burner. Our research suggests that this is particularly relevant in the case of women’s soccer. Young girls see soccer as a viable professional promise and means out of poverty. For those demonstrating some talent, they are incited by dreams of making it to the National Team and possibilities of being recruited abroad. They see soccer as an opportunity to carve out an active role within their community and beyond, yet feel that education and soccer are two very different life paths. Consequently, these girls are empowered, but lack the skills to act on this empowerment.

Ladies Turn sees empowerment, leadership and education as interdependent goals. The tools acquired through scholarship are vital to showcasing the leadership skills acquired through girls’ participation in soccer. This is why Ladies’ Turn is turning to education in order to provide a solid foundation for our empowerment through soccer program. For the past few months we have been working on developing the first phase of the initiative "Ladies' Turn l'éducation avant tout" (Ladies Turn, education first). Partnering with nine schools in four different regions of Senegal, we aim to provide school supplies, sports equipment, tutoring and scholarships that cover school expenses for families of girls in need, for participants of Ladies Turn in our partner schools. We will also provide literacy classes for girls and young women participants who have left school and who struggle with literacy in French (the official language of administration in Senegal). Last month we submitted our initiative to the Lyon Foundation in France, and we have just been informed that our project made the final cut. Cross your finger because we will find out on February 21st if our project will be financed this year. In the mean time we continue to grow our network of partners and supporters.

 From all of us at Ladies' Turn, we thank you for being a part of our team and for your continued support as we develop the next phase of our girls empowerment through soccer program!

 

Nio Far (we are in it together)

A group of Ladies
A group of Ladies' Turn participants dream big!
Women leaving the field to the boys
Women leaving the field to the boys
Nov 12, 2013

Ladies' Turn Global Outreach Campaign

Film Festival in Marseille, France
Film Festival in Marseille, France

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 ladiesturn@gmail.com.

 

From all of us at Ladies Turn, we thank you for being on our team!

 

Nio Far ( we are in it together)

Ladies
Ladies' Turn screens in Brazil!
Ladies
Ladies' Turn at Rwanda Film Festival!
Seyni and Helene on Channel 3 in France !
Seyni and Helene on Channel 3 in France !

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Aug 13, 2013

Ladies Turn takes Saint Louis

Saint Louis shoots on Ndoffane
Saint Louis shoots on Ndoffane

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!

 

Nio Far ( we are in it together)

The crowd goes wild
The crowd goes wild
Saint Louis takes off
Saint Louis takes off
All smiles :)
All smiles :)
 
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