Pooja (blue shirt) joined the team in May
The Dharavi Girls Football Proram started with around 20 girls who came to the public ground every day during their holidays in May. Now the average monthly attendance come down to 15. Since in September a lot of religious festivals are taking place, less kids showed up to the training regularly. However, in the same month, 11 girls attended 20 or more practices out of 26. Therefore the average attendance of 12.6 is a good result, compared to other program attendance records of Reality Gives.
During the heavy rain season from June to September, it was very difficult to conduct the training since the ground was flooded and very slippery. Any effort to fill the holes with sand seemed to be without sustainable success. Nonetheless, the girls wanted to play. They chose a small part of the ground that was still in good condition and took good care of the balls.
During this period Reality Gives and Yuwa didn’t recruit more girls and organized tournaments, as the playing conditions didn’t allow a development of the program. Currently the Reality Gives team tried to recruit more girls with the help of existing players. The first tournament is planned for January. Our new fundraising partner - the French Sports Retailer Decathlon- offered the playground in front of the store to conduct competition events. Furthermore the US-American General Consulate in Mumbai would like to host matches as well.
The current coaches are Hiralal (24), Neelam (17) and Soni (18) who are from Jharkhand where the Yuwa program started, substituting the coaches Anand (23), Meena (15) and Sunita (16) who coached the girls in the first three months. All three of them joined the Reality Gives Youth Empowerment Program this month. For three and a half months they will improve their English, Computer and Soft Skills to prepare for further studies. “I’m happy I got the chance to come to Mumbai to teach the girls of Dharavi. They are very motivated and very enthusiastic, which is different from the girls in Jharkhand. Also I like to get the chance to improve my personal skills!” says Hiralal.
One rule of the program means that the girls have to participate in the program for four months with a minimum attendance of 20 days. So the majority of the team got new shoes, socks and shorts at the beginning of August. It became an additional motivation for the other girls to attend regularly. Furthermore the team received new footballs and other training material like cones.
Reality Gives and Yuwa will try to address several problems over the next months like lack of space and little team spirit due to different religions and casts amongst the team players. Although it will be difficult to improve the space issue, we will hopefully increase the motivation and solidarity within the team by arranging tournaments and visits of professional football players. In June 2012 former french football player and world cup winner Frank Le Boeuf visted the girls. You can watch videos of the event on www.realitygives.org/yuwa. In January 2013 the professional women’s players Joanna Lohman and Lianne Sanderson will come to Dharavi for a training session with the girls.
The girls after the session
The main coach Hiralal motivates the girls