In October, our Girls Advisory Board members traveled from their villages to Kathmandu to join 3 days strategic planning workshop. One of the members is a 15-year-old girl from Golche – a remote village, close to the China border in Sindhupalchowk district. She participated in our Her Turn workshops seven months earlier. During the program, the girl was elected to the Girls Support Committee that is formed in each school during the workshop to provide long-term support to the girls we work with. After serving in the Committee for six months, she was selected to join Girls Advisory Board.
During the workshop, we were discussing various strategies and interventions for girls’ leadership. This participant’s interest in sports games as a path to leadership was evident. She said, “I would like to see girls participating in sports, especially volleyball. My friends and I have witnessed how the boys have been playing volleyball in school and how confident and vigorous they look. Girls have never been asked if they would like to play volleyball and hence they were always the audience. School dropouts, elopement, early pregnancy, domestic violence, polygamy, and polyandry are the most prevailing issues in our village, and girls in sports could make a huge difference in tackling these issues.”
In Golche, most of the community members come from Tamang, Dalit, and Bhujel minority groups, and many don’t speak fluent Nepali. There are approximately 170 households, and many people have migrated out of the village. Some own property in the capital city, while others are working abroad. The major occupation is farming, and most of the senior citizens are illiterate.
Her zeal for empowerment through sports was evident, therefore we committed ourselves that we will support her leadership with a condition that she will have to convince other girls and the school administration.
On November 25th, the first day of #16DaysofActivism, with the backdrop of Jugal mountain range, the girls got ready in their jerseys and white shoes. For many girls, this was the first time they have worn anything like this. The girls playing volleyball for the first time in school was significant and historic – it was a big day for everyone.