I have just returned from Kolkata where I spent time with the girls football team. They remain keen as anything and determined to keep playing - and one day to win! I am about to resurrect this fundraising page so that we can keep modest funds rolling in to pay for our new coach, Saidul, and to ensure the girls have the kit they need. I have known Saidul since he was about 6 years old. He was a street child fortunate enough to have been taken in by another NGO, Future Hope. Under Future Hope's care Saidul became a first class sportsman representing India in Rugby Union. He is making a go of a career as a fully qualified freelance sports coach. As he is from a background similar to these girls, he will be ideal. I look forward to reporting back!
Please see below a report from my colleague, Shafkat
"Girls from Muslim families are often very reserved. It is difficult to see them in football grounds. Tiljala SHED has created this first female football team from among the rag picker communities and girls coming from vulnerable families. These girls were motivated, and their family counselling was done on a regular basis for several months which resulted in the formation of a girls football team. Their parents had reservation about girls playing on the ground and now the girls are playing along with our boys football team. This is not an easy journey for Tiljala SHED. It was a dream to make a female football team as Tiljala SHED works mostly with girl child. These girls wearing football jersey and shorts is an uncommon thing that these girls have never done something in their lives. The team started with 7 and then went on to 11 and now we have 28 girls in our football team. They get regular guidance from our Sports teacher Chanchal Giri. They have already played in few of the tournaments where they lost but they still had the courage to go on and continuously put their effort in the football league. Recently one of the prominent English daily covered their story and in fact encouraged them even though they lost the match. They were competing with professional football teams from other organizations. Recently, they also participated in a football match where both the genders played together. Our boys and girls put in the combined effort and yielded results. These girls coming from a very conservative family could never ever think to play in the field along with the boys. But now their families have accepted and in fact supporting the young girls. Tiljala SHED will be training them professionally so that they can excel in these sports. These girls did not have a jersey and other sports accessories required. Some girls never had an opportunity to wear a sports shoe used in football. For them it was something very new and it made them put in their efforts to excel. The boys are also supporting them during their training sessions and regular practice is helping them out. More such practice will ensure the team to lead in many football leagues. There is ample of opportunities in the world of football. These girls who would have been doing household chores are now in the field along with their male counterparts showing their strength and valour. We are in the process of developing their skills and include more girls in the future. They will be competing in more such football tournaments in the future which would help them in State and National level competitions. We thank all the donors who committed for this unique project for our girls who are on the way of transforming their lives and inspiring many more such girls in the shanties. The project is about to start up again with Sk Saidul as Coach. Sk.Saidul was himself an underprivileged kid and now with the support of a social developmental organization he has taken sports as his career."
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