Empowering India's tribal girls, one goal at a time

Dilnaz Boga – DAWN – Monday July 7, 2014 (originally published 5 July)

Four Tribal and Dalit girl football champions, Maharashtra Jalna disctrict India
Four girls who are often marginalized because of their Tribal or Dalit caste in Maharashtra’s Jalna district of India are set to play State football in an otherwise ‘very male dominated’ sport. Image: Dilnaz Boga/DAWN

The schoolgirls of Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya (KGBV) in Maharashtra’s Jalna district are not aware of the millions of rupees that were spent on G-8, eight franchisees of All India Football Federation’s Indian Super League that were announced 200 miles away in Mumbai in April this year.

The tribal girls who play football, amongst other sports, live in the residential school tucked away deep in the heart of Maharashtra. Through tireless practice, the teenagers of KGBV, a school for under-privileged girls in difficult-to-reach areas, have found a berth in state and national teams for football and kho-kho, an unprecedented development in this part of the underdeveloped state.

“Four of our athletes have been chosen for the Maharashtra state team to play in the nationals under 16,” boasts a proud coach Rafik Shaikh.

The students of the school are mainly tribals, orphans, children of farmers, migrant labourers and cotton pickers. . .

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