In its endeavor to empower women and to promote football at the grassroots level, UN Information Centre for India and Bhutan (UNIC), in collaboration with Punjab-based MNC SOnalika Group and NGO Sudeva, is organising India’s first-ever Inter-School Girls Football League, the Sonalika-Sudeva-UN Girls Football Trophy. The league is supported by Angelique Foundation.
The opening season of the League will be played over three months (October-December 2016). Around 20 school teams will be participating in a league format followed by the semi-finals and finals. All the matches will be played over the weekends at 19, Raj Niwas, Civil Lines Ground. The League is expected to have over 300 plus players participating, and is a novel initiative taken up by Sudeva and the UN Information Centre.
With the rapidly growing popularity of football in India and its women’s national team being ranked 57 in the world, such a league will be instrumental in promoting girls talent in football right from the elementary school level.
In the very first season of this Trophy, schools from diverse backgrounds- government schools, NGO-run schools, as well as private schools, will be competing for the UN Trophy. Such an unprecedented blend of social backgrounds is an effort to promote complete inclusion and will be an important step towards reducing social disparities.
The UN believes that sport often provides safe environments at the grassroots and community levels, at which participants are brought together in the pursuit of common goals and interests; learn values of respect, tolerance and fair play; and develop social competencies. As a common denominator and shared passion, sport can build bridges between communities regardless of their cultural differences or political divisions. In times of conflict or instability, sporting activities can provide participants with a sense of normalcy.
Apart from being the first of its kind League, the event will also promote the Sustainable Development Goals Agenda promoted by the UN. SDG 5 specifically encourages gender equality and empowerment of women and girls.
“We have always believed in growing together with the society. It is not just a duty, but a privilege to serve the society. Through this endeavour we encourage young girls to take up a profession, which serves both the purpose of goal recreation and goal setting for them at the same time,” says Deepak Mittal, Managing Director, Sonalika Group. “Such a league will be instrumental in promoting girls talent in football right from the elementary school level,” says Anuj Gupta, Co-Founder, Sudeva NGO. “Sports not only brings fitness and happiness in a child’s life, but can become a viable career option as well,” says Jaishree Goyal, Head CSR, Angelique International Limited.