The BIG hit

Madhu's all geared up to better her best record,ten runs in an over.

Written by EXPRESS FEATURES SERVICE | Published:January 20, 2009 11:20 pm

Yuvsatta’s all-girls cricket team is nominated for an international Sports for Change award

Madhu’s all geared up to better her best record,ten runs in an over. The chirpy 11-year-old is referred to as Dhoni by her teammates and she dreams of being the captain of her team soon. “You know,I play cricket so well,that’s why they call me Dhoni,’’ Madhu’s been playing the game for over a year now and dreams of making to the National team one day. Like most of the other girls of the Yuvsatta all-girls senior and junior cricket teams. An innovative initiative by Yuvsatta,a city-based NGO which works in various spheres of development,the Cricket for Girls endeavour,which began about two years back,according to Pramod Sharma,combines sports,literacy and life skills training to empower girls. The effort has found a new impetus with a nomination for an international Sports for Change Award with the theme,Change the Game for Women in Sport. “And we’re sure our girls are ready to take the role of universal agents of social change,’’ Pramod says they have as many as 45 girls from marginalized,economically weaker families of the Bapu Dham Colony and their effort has not only given these girls confidence,but the will to dream,study and think of a future. “In these families,their mobility is restricted,drop-out rate from schools is high and early marriage is common,but I have seen such positive changes not only in them,but how others perceive them. Physical fitness,mental health and strength,access to and visibility in the public sphere,the game has helped transform the ways girls view themselves,’’ Sharma says the Chandigarh Education Department has provided them the playground in the Government School,Sector 26,while the LIC Cricket Club,which is also setting up a cricket academy has been pitching in with tremendous support. And if you want to support them click on http://www.changemakers.net and post your comments!

For 17-year-old Anu,whose favourite player is Irfan Pathan,playing for two hours a day is a catharsis,a breath of fresh air from housework,responsibility,here the focus is to give in the best. “I feel happier,more energetic and want study further and become either a lawyer or police officer,’’ Anu says meeting other girls,being part of discussions after the practice session has given her a broader view of the world. Pramod hopes to replicate the initiative in other slums and villages of the city for further strengthening of the programme and also encouraging other girls to join in. Many girls,like 17-year-old Sarika,who left studies in Class V and is now batting beautifully,is also all set to join back school soon,“my parents have no problems with me playing and wearing trousers and shirts. It makes them happy to see me smiling,’’ she smiles shyly. Nods Anjana,who’s a bowler and wants to be like Yuvraj and hopes their team will win the award. So do we….

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