Goals for Girls aims to empower girls and young women in rural Cambodia through sport, teaching them leadership skills, teamwork and of course sports-specific skills. Sports are out of reach for most Cambodian women, despite the fact that some of Cambodia's top international athletes (like champion Taekwondo fighter, Sorn Sievmai) are female. This project aims to help young women reclaim the sports field and learn what roles they can occupy, not only on the field, but in society at large.
While overall poverty rates in Cambodia have dropped in recent years, around 90% of the country's poor live in rural areas, like Siem Reap province, the second poorest in the country. Rural poverty is characterized by low levels of education, malnutrition and poor job prospects, especially for girls. As girls enter adolescence, they assume more family responsibilities, leading to elevated school drop-out rates, minimal involvement in extra curricular activities and limited future opportunities.
By encouraging young women to play sports and work together to organize an end of year sports festival, we can help them develop a host of skills, including leadership, discipline and teamwork, which are all useful on and off the sports field. Sports also promotes the development of self esteem, healthy habits and body confidence in young people - especially young women - helping them to recognize their strengths, stay in education for longer and even dream bigger.
By providing opportunities for girls to play sports in environments where they don't have to compete directly with boys, they can feel more confident being assertive and taking on leadership roles. Once girls see that they can be leaders in all female environments, they learn that they can do so in other walks of life too and take on roles - in sports, education and even business - that they may not have thought of before. End result: empowered women and the chance to break the poverty cycle!