Just recently, the US Women’s Soccer Team won their third World Cup title. All over the world, thousands of people cheered as the team beat Japan 5-2. These athletes provide a powerful example of what it means to empower women through sports, an idea that has long been recognized by international bodies such as the United Nations as a fundamental way to achieve universal gender equality. A few thousand miles away, a less glamorous game was played, but it embodied the same spirit of empowerment. These cricket matches, where girls that normally don’t get to play sports, brought joy to a group of kids who have seen nothing but hardship and pain recently.
This match was a welcome distraction to the girls who have dealt with the difficulties resulting from the recent earthquakes in Nepal
Teams from each of Rukmini Foundation’s partner schools in Pharping (Arunodaya H.S. School, Shikharapur Community School, Pharping H.S. School and Setidevi Secondary School) participated in the event, which was put together by a local grassroots organization called Rising Cricket for Women (RCW).
Ms. Sadikshya, member of RCW leads the event as the Emcee
Rukmini Scholars from each school helped lead the cricket teams and encouraged the other girls throughout the game. Rukmini Didis and past scholars also helped volunteer during the tournament. The girls enjoyed the game immensely, and were excited to be a part of it.
Rukmini Didis / Volunteers watch on as the girls play
The games not only featured our scholars, but great national women cricketers like Rubina Chettri, Gitu Balajia, and Aarati Bidari. Along with them, the sponsor of this event, Mr. Bob Bisley took part in this innovative program. Ms. Gitu Balajia, on recalling the beginnings of her cricket career, remarked, “”In those days cricket was a boy’s game and girls would have to beg to be able to play the game, but things are slowly changing. It is not strange for people to encourage girls to play the game, and they even send the girls for practice. They finally have an opportunity.”
It was a thrill for the girls to get to see National women’s team players like Captain Ms. Rubi Chhetri be a part of this great event.
Sports helps empower girls in many ways. It strengthens ties to their communities, improves their physical and mental health, provides opportunities for leadership, and builds independence. Due to the success of the program, Cricket could prove to be a fantastic way for these girls to express themselves. The event’s sponsor, Mr. Bob Bisley exclaimed at the end of the event, “Just by seeing how well this was organized and how enthusiastic the girls are to be playing, I anticipate that this will continue to be very popular here. In Nepal to raise women status with men’s status is to get them involved in sports where they know their strength and their body movement and how they can play a game just as well as boys can raise their confidence and level of strength and also raise women empowerment.”
A woman in harmony with her spirit is like a river flowing. She goes where she will without pretense and arrives at her destination prepared to be herself…and only herself
~ Maya Angelou
Every girl seeks such a life in which she does not just merely exist, but lives with passion and purpose. This is the ultimate goal of girls’ empowerment, to provide the opportunity for girls to find their talents, their strengths, and to reach their full potentials. There are many vehicles of empowerment, which all interconnect to help girls shape their own futures. Education serves as the stable ground from which knowledge and creativity flourishes through academics, arts, and even sports. We would like to thank the sponsors of this great event (Mr. Bob Bisley and Rising Cricket for Women) as well as the great role models from Nepal’s National Women’s Team who came to teach and inspire Rukmini Girls. We look forward to making this a tradition.