Yuwa uses team sport to combat child marriage and human trafficking, empowering young women in rural India. Founded in January of 2009 with 15 girls in one village, Yuwa now trains over 250 girls from 15 villages, with average daily attendance of 150, six days a week. From that first team of 15 girls – sisters, cousins and friends from a tiny tribal village – three have already made it onto the Indian national junior women’s team. Yuwa’s girls have changed the expectation of a woman’s role in their communities.
Of 15 girls who walked into Yuwa’s first practice in 2009, three now play for the India national junior women’s team.
Yuwa is one of ten winners worldwide in Nike Gamechangers 2011, and is recipient of NDTV’s 2012 award for ‘Marks for Sports’.
If you want to make a real difference for girls, there’s no better place to start than Jharkhand—if you can do it here, you can do it anywhere.
When a girl is born in Jharkhand, her life has usually already been planned out for her. She is isolated—if she is not seen working, she is harassed. She is illiterate—more than six in ten women here can’t read. She is married off—Jharkhand ranks worst among Indian states in child marriages. She remains vulnerable—an estimated 30,000 girls from Jharkhand are trafficked every year. She gets pregnant. The cycle continues.
For a girl in Jharkhand, even home can be a dangerous place. Yuwa brings girls out of isolation and into a positive team environment. Daily practice and a team platform give us access to large numbers of at-risk girls, and a girl with confidence can rewrite the script others have prepared for her.
Team sport serves as a powerful platform to promote health, education and improved livelihoods among the hardest to reach, most at-risk group in the community, the group that has the least opportunity but is the most important agent for change—young women.
When a girl organizes or joins a Yuwa team, through positive peer pressure she becomes a more regular student—players elect team captains, who keep track of school attendance, and many girls attend daily study sessions at Yuwa Club. She pays attention to her own health and to the health of her teammates, and gets access to information about her body. She marries when she chooses—on Yuwa's first team, not a single girl has gotten married below the age of 18, even though several of their older sisters had been married off at age 15. She will raise a healthy family. The cycle continues.
To assist in building off of the strength of existing Yuwa programs to bring in elements that will further empower and create opportunities for Yuwa’s girls, improving their health, education and future livelihoods. Building support for education and nutrition will be focal points in this position.
Ormanjhi block, Ranci district, Jharkand (India)
(+91) 96 3182 3908
email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
MIT students who develop projects around these ideas may apply for support from the Priscilla King Gray Public Service Center's Fellowships or Internships program. You will first need to contact the community partners in Costa Rica to develop your plans.
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