German Consulate General Kolkata supports “Football for Freedom”Enlarge image GK Feiner with the girl's team at the event (© GK)
The NGO ‘Jabala Action Research Organisation’ has been working for many years against trafficking of young and adolescent girls, in particularly affected districts of West Bengal. The district of Alipurduar in the northeastern part of the state, bordering Assam, is known for very high rates of girls’/women trafficking. People of this area, many of whom from indigenous backgrounds, traditionally work as low paid workers affiliated to numerous tea estates.
The German Consulate General Kolkata recently financed a major anti-trafficking project of Jabala, conducted in the 4 most affected districts of West Bengal, including Alipurduar.
Jabala over the years has come to realize the need to enhance the level of confidence of their target group. Sports, and in particular soccer (football), can act wonders. It raises confidence and brings out leaders in them, who in turn can influence other girls to stand up for their rights. The girls get immediate recognition, which boosts school retention. In Alipurduar the NGO since November 2016 has been able to form two football teams with adolescent girl participants playing regularly under their project ‘Football for Freedom’.
Since the team of girls in Alipurduar was lacking any proper equipment and gear, it was decided to provide them with football tricots, shorts, shoes and balls under the Federal Foreign Office’s International Sports Promotion programme. This program has been supporting projects to develop sport around the world for over 50 years now.
In an official ceremony, Consul General Dr. Michael Feiner handed over football gear and other equipment to the girl’s football team, which was followed by a friendly match to celebrate the true spirit of sports.