Published at a later date
Helping ambitious girls in developing nations achieve their goals by
empowering them through soccer.
Published at a later date
Hi, I'm Kenta Soga from Plan Japan. I'm leading the Girls Soccer Project in Zimbabwe.
In an earlier report from Zimbabwe, I wrote about the Project's positive influence on girls. While winning a soccer game may offer only a temporary feeling of success, it makes the girls more aware of their potential. The Project also encourages the girls to care for one another and form friendships as they train toward a common goal.
Girls drop out of school for many reasons. Nonetheless, it is important for them to continue their education. Their desire to stay in school can play a strong role in preventing childhood marriages and pregnancies.
The girls participating in the Girls Soccer Project love studying and playing soccer. Many of them want to become professional soccer players someday and the parents encourage the children to do their best at the upcoming national tournament. The local Plan Japan staff asked one girl's parents if she could be excused from her chores while she participates in the tournament. The response was warm: "It is all right because we know our child is preparing for the tournament. We completely support her."
The Zimbabwean Plan Japan staff were surprised and elated by the comments. They said that traditional ways of thinking still hold strong. Some parents, while they may allow their daughters to play soccer at school, are very hesitant to permit them to leave the village and stay overnight in another town, which is why they were surprised to receive the family's blessing.
They were also delighted to see changes in thinking and attitudes. The girls enjoy going to school and this positive energy is spreading.
The 2013 National Tournament was held in December in the town of Masvingo. The girls' soccer team of Gwesela St. Andrew primary school won the regional tournament and the opportunity to represent the Midlands province at the national tournament. The team is from the KweKwe district where Clothes for Smiles is providing aid.
The participating team's placement is not based on the number of victories alone. The tournament consists of three elements. The teams compete in soccer, community service (particularly environmental initiatives) and awareness-raising activities, especially the KAO Game. We reported on the KAO Game, or Kicking AIDS Out Game, in an earlier report. The KAO Game aims to prevent the spread of HIV and AIDS.
Teams representing the nation's ten provinces participated in the national tournament. The Kwekwe team, representing the Midlands province, placed sixth in the soccer division and fifth in community service. Best of all, the team placed third in the awareness-raising division!
This project just began last year in the summer of 2013. I hope you'll agree that the team, which had only been together for only three months, did wonderfully well. We're going to continue working hard to prepare for the 2014 tournament.
Zimbabwe Report 2: The Girls' Energy Is Having a Positive Influence on People Around Them