At our final tournament day on June 3rd, the mbalax music was blasting as the girls took the field at High School in Saint Louis, Senegal. The crowd cheered on the girls’ teams at André Guillabert Middle School. The music, the cheers this time were for girls’ soccer but also for soccer as a tool to help keep girls in school.
In total, over 270 girls from schools in 5 regions participated in our new tournament format. We are now partnering with middle schools to ensure that girls’ soccer teams will have the structure in which to flourish. Ladies’ Turn donated jerseys and balls to the schools’ girls teams so that they could continue to play in this coming school year.
Most importantly, in a country where many girls drop out before high school, we hope that soccer at the precarious middle school stage can be one more way to keep girls in school. To further this goal, Ladies’ Turn will also be providing scholarships in the form of school materials (notebooks, pens, and books) to all players in our partner schools who finish the school year in the top ten of their grade. We hope this will encourage the girls to keep up the good work both on and off the field! However, we also do not want girls to stop going to school because their families cannot afford school books for the year- a common problem in Senegal. Thus, we also will be donating school books to our partner middle schools to give to the neediest students.
Finally, Ladies’ Turn would like to give a huge thanks to you, our supporters.You made our new girls’ soccer-education partnership possible.
We’d like to especially highlight District Sports www.districtsports.org, a community soccer organization in Washington, DC. Their spring league teams opted to donate to Ladies’ Turn instead of receiving new jerseys so that we could purchase jerseys for girls in Senegal. Thanks to their generosity, they raised $5,000 dollars for us! I’m from DC, grew up playing girls’ soccer both on weekends and for my public school, and have played in District Sports’ summer leagues. They are an amazing organization- a model for us. It thus means a lot us to have their support from across the ocean. Check them out if you are in DC and itching to play!
Our success in May encourages us to continue partnering with schools to expand girls’ soccer and keep girls in school. Let’s give girls the chance to play and to study!
Jerejef! Nio far, Wolof for "Thank you! We are in this together,"
Jennifer and the Ladies' Turn Team
Ladies’ Turn and women’s soccer still face major challenges in Senegal. While we got off to a great start on May 8, this was later than our original May 3 start date. As the field we had reserved weeks before in Dakar cancelled and then our backup field revoked their promise in order schedule men’s games, the girls didn’t have a place to play. It was a frustrating reminder that while we have made lots of progress, we still have lots of work to go. Your support makes change, little by little, possible.
However, such setbacks only strengthen our resolve. Ladies’ Turn's first games were held on May 8 and 9 in Fatick and Kaolack. This year, we are working with schools to use soccer as a tool to keep girls in school. It’s only fitting then that this tournament is dedicated to the memory of Dr. Suzanne M. Bianchi, who was such a believer in women’s education and women’s sports. Before start of each set of games, Seyni, our President, explains who she was and why we are honoring her. Then a moment of silence is held.
After Fatick and Kaolack, Ladies’ Turn moved on to Kaffrine (Koungheul) on May 16 and 17. Ladies’ Turn then organized a non-stop tournament day on May 23 in Thies. Everywhere the atmosphere has been electric. Girls just like to play!
Tomorrow on May 30, we will hold our final non-stop tournament games in the beautiful city of Saint Louis. We are donating balls and penneys to each school so they can take girls’ soccer forward this year.
We will update you after the final games. Thank you again for donating to Ladies' Turn!
Jennifer and the Ladies' Turn team
Wahoo! The 2015 Ladies’ Turn tournament will open THIS Sunday, May 3 in Dakar, Senegal. We and the budding girl soccer stars are very excited.
Over 600 girls are scheduled to play soccer throughout May, many for the very first time! This year, we decided to expand to 6 regions total (instead of 8) to ensure we don’t spread ourselves too thin. Non-stop one day tournaments will be held in the regions of Dakar, Thies, Fatick, Kaolack, Saint Louis, and Kaffrine. Next tournament, we plan to expand to 8 or more.
We are working with schools this year to use soccer as a tool to encourage girls to stay in school.
Non-Stop Tournament Schedule:
May 3- Dakar
May 8- Kaolack
May 9- Fatick
May 16 & 17- Kaffrine
May 23- Thies
May 30- Saint Louis
We’ll update you regularly this month on the tournament’s progress. Right now, we can't say thank you enough for your support! We couldn’t do it without you.
Ku men sa morom duma. Wolof for “May the best team win!”
Now, let the games begin!
Ladies' Turn is gearing up for our 2015 tournament- coming soon- as soon as March 2015! We will update you when we know the exact start date.
We are excited about our new tournament format which will allow us to reach more regions than ever and allow us to strengthen our ties to education. We want to encourage the girls who play in our tournaments to stay in school. In Senegal, many girls drop out after primary school. We believe that soccer can be a motivation for staying in school.
So this year, we will organize one-day tournaments in 8 regions throughout Senegal, working closely with schools to start their first girls' soccer teams. Currently, schools have boys' teams but not girls' ones. Schools also provide a safe structure for girls' soccer to flourish and grow. Many of our Ladies' Turn regional organizers are also teachers. The tournaments and the equipment we provide to the schools will serve as a launchpad for the schools' first girls' soccer leagues.
We are looking forward to seeing more girls' soccer than ever in the regions of Thies, Fatick, Kaolack, Saint-louis, Seidhiou, Vélingara, Tambacounda, Kaffrine.
It's our favorite time of year- girls' soccer time! So get ready!
In the past year, Ladies' Turn has spread the word about women's soccer in Senegal through our documentary. We are proud to share the list of festivals that have shown Ladies' Turn this year and last:
Festival Elles Tournent in Brussels
Festival International du film francophone (FIFF) in Namur, Belgium
Festival Femmes en Résistance in Arcueil, France
Festival Cineffable in Paris
Festival Les Escales documentaires in La Rochelle
Festival International Images of Women of Zimbabwe (IFFF) in Harare
London Feminist Film Festival (LFFF) - Best Film and Feminist Favorite Awards
Festival du FESPACO (Hors Compétition) in Burkina Faso
Afrika Filmfestival in Belgium
Internationales Fussballfilmfestival in Berlin
Festival de L'Ici et de l'Ailleurs in Bresse
Pink Apple Film Festival in Zürich
Festival Image et Vie in Senegal
La nuit du Cinéma in Rabat
Festival de film les Dérangeantes dans la Drôme in France
Rwanda Film Festival
Festival Cinefoot in Brazil (in Rio and in San Paolo)
Festival Femmes Méditerranée in Marseille
Festival du Film d'éducation in Evreux, France
Pitch Fest in Montréal
Festival de Films de Femmes of Créteil, France
Festival Vues d'En Face in Grenoble - Best Documentary Award
African Football Film Festival in Lagos, Nigéria
Now, we are ready to get back to playing soccer in Senegal! This year, the Senegalese women's national team competed in the qualifying rounds of the Africa Cup of Nations when the tied Cameroon 1-1. Ladies' Turn will be cheering the national team on as they prepare for the next Cup- especially since several of the national team's players assist Ladies' Turn in organizing our tournaments. In the Senegalese Cup, the Tigresses of Thies beat out the Grand Yoffoises team from the capital Dakar. Women's soccer is alive and well in Senegal!
So, with help from an ever improving national team and with the knowledge that people worldwide have watched us on screen, we are more excited than ever for our big tournament in 2015. We just held our first planning meeting. We will keep you updated on the dates, the regions, and the girls who will participate!
Thank you again for your support and encouragement!
The Ladies' Turn Team
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