Girls in action at the Because I am a Girl Cup
Sports brings people together more than perhaps anything other event. Case in point: Super Bowl 2014 was the most-watched television event in history, with the World Cup final not far behind. So it was not surprising that hundreds of people gathered to watch the Because I am a Girl Cup in Nepal, a soccer tournament that brought together girls from 12 districts all over the country in a public event to compete for the tournament cup, as well as to raise awareness about the rights of girls across the nation. Local newspapers picked up the story, and mainstream and social media around the event reached about 10 million people.
Early marriage and school dropout are major issues for girls in Nepal, and they are often expected to stay at home and perform household work. The line between what girls can do and what boys can do seems impenetrable. But there is no limit to what determined girls can accomplish. So in the fall of 2014, 190 girls from 12 districts in Nepal walked confidently out of their houses, laced up their shoes, and showed the country that girls can do anything that boys can do.
Fighting discrimination is complex work. Conversations about girls’ rights can stir up deep emotions and often trigger defensive responses. But a sports game is transcendent. It changes people’s perceptions of who girls are and what girls can do without them ever realizing it is happening. Suddenly, girls go from silent housekeepers to soccer stars, running and kicking and yelling across a field that was once thought to be “boys-only territory.”
What did girls say about the Because I am a Girl Cup?
“The Because I am a Girl Cup proved that women are as strong as men physically as well as mentally.”
- Rekha, captain of the Kanchanpur team
“This is different from other tournaments - this is to stop discrimination and abuse against girls, to raise awareness among people about the importance of education for girls. ”
- Sushmita, a player on the Kathmandu team
What else have you made possible for girls in Nepal?
376 centers for non-formal education have served 9,383 children (93% girls).
300 children and 300 parents were educated on preventing trafficking.
149 vulnerable children (Muslim children and children from low castes) who had dropped out of school are attending non-formal education programs to rejoin formal schools.
The Info Booth at the Indian border cross-checked 192 children and rescued 46 children who were being trafficked into India as child laborers.
Team Rautahat - Cup Champions!