Australian cricketers visited ‘Yuwa’, an NGO based in the city, that provides a platform through team sport for young women to gain confidence to make a change in their world. The players took time out from their preparations for the third Test of the Tour of India, which begins on Thursday, to engage with some inspiring young girls who hail from Jharkhand. The girls who are part of Yuwa are rewriting their script – and it all starts with sport and education.
Australian players spent time in small groups hearing firsthand from the girls the challenges they have faced to get to where they are now with the help of Yuwa. All 81 students from the school then gathered to share their experiences in sport and how it has benefited them before engaging in some light-hearted competition between the players and the senior girls’ football team. The event was managed in partnership with the Australian High Commission in India.
Australian spinner Stephen O’Keefe said visiting the school showed him how lucky “we are”. “It just really does put things in perspective. I look around here and think about the education and the privileged life that I had growing up,” he said. “Some of these girls have to travel four or five kilometres a day just to get to work. They’re up at four, five o’clock and you realise how fortunate you are. On the flip side you realise how tough and resilient these girls are. They want to be successful, they want to break the mould and through education they’re being able to do it.”
It made O’Keefe realise that cricket isn’t everything. “At times you can get caught up playing cricket thinking it’s the be all and end all and not making runs is the most important thing,” he said. “Being able to have these experiences out here, listening to their stories and being able to share some of your stories it shows that cricket is more than a game. It transcends ages, genders and cultures. It’s important for us as Australian cricketers to do that and continue to do that into the future. We’ll get more well rounded cricketers on and off the field.”