This project will fund football for vulnerable girls from Kolkata's most impoverished and marginalized communities. Part of Tiljala SHED's all round education and child protection programme, sport empowers girls to stay in education and avoid early marriage through teamwork, physical fitness, competition and self confidence. Funds are needed for boots, jerseys, nutrition, coaching and sports ground hire.
In these backward and patriarchal communities residing in slums and squatter camps beside Kolkata's railways and sewers, girls routinely drop out of education at puberty and are married off as young as 14 years old. They are then condemned to a life of child bearing, illiteracy, poverty and abuse.
Our work is to keep these girls in education, giving them a chance to make better choices for their own lives than the community might make for them. An opportunity to learn and excel in a sport, to compete with other girls from all backgrounds - and even to beat them - will give our girls the confidence to write a different story for themselves. By being part of a team and with inspirational coaching, these girls have an excellent chance of avoiding the miserable lives their mothers lead.
Education is considered to be the best tool to break the inter-generational cycle of abuse, malnutrition, poverty and oppression. By putting education and child protection at the centre of community life, we expect whole communities to see a rise in literacy and reductions in child labour and early marriage. Immediate benefits today to the 600 children and 3000 family members will flow to many thousands of indirect beneficiaries in the wider community and in future generations.