Yuwa, which means ‘youth’ in Hindi, works in the rural region of Jharkhand in northern India, which ranks among the highest in the country for female vulnerability. Half of school-age girls in the region are not in school, 60% of girls become child brides and female literacy rates are only 45%. The young girls in the programme use football to overcome violence, child marriage, endless poverty and a lack of opportunity.
The hook is football, played by 450 girls in the programme, but Yuwa also offers education from highly qualified teachers for 95 young girls, empowering them to choose their own futures. They learn to speak English fluently, build self-confidence and self-worth and start to change perceptions of what a girl from a rural village in India is capable of achieving.
In a context where males and females seldom leave their villages, let along their state, more than 30 YUWA girls have spoken at universities, TEDx events and conferences and travelled across India and abroad. And more critically, in a context where 60% of girls are child brides, 100% of Yuwa girls have not been coerced into child marriage.