The Women in Sports Foundation, founded by tennis great Billie Jean King, reports that girls and women who play sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem, and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not play sports.
Because sports are fun!
While it’s well known that many women and girls in Asia still lack the same rights and opportunities of men, these young ladies are making their own way forward.
India: Arshdeep, age 15
Arshdeep is the eldest of 4 siblings. She is in 9th grade and is a passionate player of badminton.
“I first started playing sports at World Vision’s children’s club. It was there that I developed a keen interest for badminton. Earlier, I never had access to equipment or even knowledge on how to play the sport. I lacked the confidence to even speak to a single person let alone compete with so many players. But thanks to World Vision’s intervention in my life, I now have the confidence to say no dream is too big.”
Arshdeep started playing barely a year ago and already she’s won a silver medal at the district level tournament. This year she hopes to compete in both the district and state levels and bring home a gold medal.
Photo by: ©Tiatemjen Jamir/World Vision
Sri Lanka: Sadeesha, age 14
“I started aerobic gymnastics when I was in 3rd Grade. We all have to play at least one sport in school. I like athletics too, but this sport seemed really fun so I chose it. It’s really good exercise too and we need to be strong, flexible and quick to perform the moves. We are the team that won the All Island Aerobic Gym for Life Challenge Championship in 2014. There were many schools but we won! We were so happy that we all shouted and cheered when the winners were announced. I like participating in competitions. It builds my confidence and brings the team closer too.”
Photo by: ©Niroshini Fernando/World Vision
Bangladesh: Kolpona, age 14
Kolpona, grade 9, dreams of becoming a world-class footballer. She lives with her family in Dhobaura, Mymensingh.
“When I saw some girls magnificently playing football and scoring goals, I became so fascinated and wanted to play.”
She loves to score goals and feels proud when her strong defence stops the opposing team from scoring. She plays on an award winning team that even travelled to Nepal to represent the national team in the Asia Cup under-16.
“Though I play defence I just love to see my team scoring goals. And I feel so proud when I resist my opponent team from scoring.”
Photo by: ©Shabir Hussain/World Vision
Laos: Anny, age 9
Who needs shoes to play? Nothing stops Anny from playing football. She lives in southern Laos in Savannakhet province. In her community, World Vision has implemented education programs that focus on school quality and provided sports equipment and uniforms.
“I like to play football because I get to exercise, which helps me stay healthy. I also like wearing a football uniform because it makes me look very smart!”
Photo by: ©Ammala Thomisith/World Vision
Vietnam: Hang, age 13, and Li, age 10
Hang and Li live in central Vietnam near Da Nang city. Hang, age 13, and Li, age 10, shine in badminton. She became interested in the sport when she was very young, watching her parents play every day. For five consecutive years, Hang has won an annual badminton competition for students in her district.
“I like this sport because it’s a simple way to stay healthy and make more friends. The sport is easy to play and doesn’t cost much for us as we’re poor students in a rural area. My dad even used his own money to buy some plastic balls for kids in my village to play for free.”
“I will play badminton until the day I can’t run or jump. I want to be a good badminton coach for girls in my community.”
Photo by: ©Le Thiem Xuan/World Vision
World Vision’s approach includes whole-community development – from clean water, to access to good education, to proper nutrition, to economic development. When communities thrive, children thrive and can see life with new opportunities. Instead of fetching water or helping their parents earn income, they have time and energy to participate in childrens clubs, helping their community, and of course, sport!
This week, One Goal is at the Women Deliver Global Conference representing the importance of Sport, nutrition and reaching girls and women with access to both. Stay tuned all this week for stories and photos of how girls are getting in the game.
May is the month of action for Sport for Development by One Goal and partners. Join us all month long by following our weekly themes, engaging in important conversation online, participating in sport and advocating for sports access, organization of grassroots sporting activities, and child health for all.
Follow One Goal on Facebook.com/OneGoal and @OneGoalMovement on Twitter from 1-31 May for stories, photo, video and opportunities to make a difference for the next generation through Sport.
Read more posts from the month of action for Sport for Development from One Goal:
- A day in the life of a young female footballer in Myanmar in PHOTOS
- When girls play, everyone wins!
- The power of football:Life after fleeing Syria
- Why investing in Sport pays off
- Football gets boys and girls in the game in Nepal
- 3 programmes changing the game for kids
- Sport for Development in 5 videos
- How much do you know about Sport for Development? 7 tips
- Kicking off a month of action for Sport for Development