Girls and Sports
NGOs like Grassroot Soccer have been successful in improving lives through the power of sport. But for many reasons, girls do not often participate. An India-based NGO called Magic Bus is working to level the playing field to support girls in experiencing the empowering benefits of game and sport.
The work of this organization was
highlighted by Jinal Sanghavi during the last challenge, but is also relevant for this one!
Magic Bus are working throughout India to provide safe spaces for girls to play alongside boys, increasing their visibility within communities, challenging gender stereotypes and demonstrating capabilities beyond their socially assigned roles. "Boys are genuinely shocked when they see what girls can do," says Wadia. "If they're not raised that way, how would they know?"
Such programmes might also be the only access a girl has to information about her sexual and reproductive health, a taboo and little-discussed subject within many Indian households, yet crucial to a girl's health and awareness of choice.
But sport for development is not without its challenges. Space can be a problem in urban districts and there is the issue of ensuring the needs of the most marginalised are met. This is a particular difficulty in poor or conservative communities, where sport is considered a luxury, or where girls are prohibited by religious law from playing alongside boys.
Yet while "behaviour change takes time", according to Kumar, progress is evident. In the two years since Magic Bus established its Bakkarwala programme, there has been a ninefold increase in the number of girl participants..."