On March 21, 2016, CARE Tipping Point Project arranged an all girls football match in Dowarabazar upazila in the Sunamgani District of Bangladesh. Adolescent girls from Pandargon union and Mannargaon union competed against each other for the first time in a sport that dominates international athletics and media.
While the Mannargaon team won by two goals, both teams were more thrilled that they were able to play. At the awards ceremony, the captain of the Pandergaon team said, “Although we lost the game, I am thankful to my teammates for their efforts. I played football for the first time.” Football is more than just a fun sport; it is also a way to engage youth in their communities. Upazila Nirbahi Officer and special guest at the football match, Saiful Islam, said, “Playing games makes the mind fresh. If a teenager is engaged in games, he/she will not be involved in child marriages, drug addictions, or eve-teasing.”
The excitement and encouragement contributed to a positive environment for the girls, the coaches, and the onlookers. Even the audience enjoyed the game cheering on both teams, and the girls who played in this match now have even bigger dreams. They want to play on a national level.
This story was originally documented by Nahida Arefin Nitu, CARE Bangladesh.