Empowering Girls Through Sports: Babitha’s Extraordinary Journey! - ActionAid India
+91 80 25586293

Empowering Girls Through Sports: Babitha’s Extraordinary Journey!

Published on: Friday, 1st March 2024

Author: Pramod Naikodi

Photo: Babitha, First from left

Meet Babitha, a 16-year-old girl from a tribal family in Giridih, Jharkhand. Her parents are farm labourers who work hard to provide for the family, which includes Babitha’s two younger brothers and a sister. Being a girl in her villages poses challenges, as societal norms expect girls to engage in household chores from an early age, limiting their opportunities for education and pursuing their interests. Many girls in her village are married off before even reaching their teenage years.

As Babitha narrates,“I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to study till high school but I always felt a difference in treatment compared to the boys. While boys enjoyed freedom to play and explore, I was confined to domestic responsibilities. Despite dreaming of attending college and securing a good job, I lacked a clear path to make those dreams a reality.”

Around a year ago, ActionAid Association entered Babitha’s village and started an adolescent girls’ group, of which Babitha became one of the first members. This group deeply impacted her life, providing a platform where the girls can convene weekly to learn about their rights, health, hygiene, and discuss their dreams and aspirations for the future, instilling in Babitha the belief that she can achieve anything with determination.

One significant aspect of the group is the opportunity to play football, a sport highly popular in Babitha’s village but traditionally restricted for girls. The ActionAid Association team persuaded parents to permit girls to play and even hired a coach for their training. Over the past few months, the girls have dedicated themselves to rigorous practice, participating in local tournaments where they have achieved notable success. Playing football has not only offered them physical exercise but also served as a source of enjoyment, fostering confidence among the group members.

“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to ActionAid Association for their support. They have played a crucial role in helping us overcome gender-based discrimination, empowering us to pursue our dreams. Now, I am confident in the brightness of my future and am determined to make the most of the opportunities that lie ahead,” says Babitha.

We are proud of Babitha’s unwavering commitment to changing her life story to one of resilience and leadership, through the power of football.