Blog: “The situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan is troubling. Women and girls lack some basic human rights…”04 October 2020

GirlPowerusessportandeducationtoempowerwomenandgirls.Theywillbetakinganactivepartinthisyear’s#FootballPeopleweeks,asfounderandformerinternationalfootballerKhalidaPopalexplains.

“For the #FootballPeople weeks, Girl Power is running six events. There will be two each taking place in Afghanistan and Pakistan that promote sport activities amongst girls and women in rural areas within these countries. We also have activities taking place in Europe, with one in Denmark and one in Germany.

In Afghanistan and Pakistan, the events will be three day-long football tournaments, including educational and coaching workshops for coaches and mothers, as well as football training sessions for girls.

Our event in Denmark sees a one-day festival take place to mark the UN International Day of Girl Child in Nordsjaelland Farum on the 10thOctober, and we will also separately run a one-day workshop in a high school in Hamburg, Germany.

The situation within Afghanistan and Pakistan is particularly troubling. Women and girls are lacking some basic human rights, and there are not enough social and educational activities where women can learn, grow, and build friendships. There is not enough investment and interest in sports, along with other social projects, especially in rural areas for women and girls. Through our activities, we want to raise awareness about the importance of sports for having a healthy body and brain.

For our events in Denmark and Germany, we want to promote the inclusion of refugee women and girls in different European societies.

That is why being part of the #FootballPeople weeks is so important for us. This is because it allows us to raise awareness about exclusion, and to be part of a campaign that stands for inclusion and equality, alongside other organisations that share the same values.

We also feel that now is an even more important time for us to use sport activities as a tool to help and support refugee women considering the pandemic.

This made our job even more difficult and what didn’t help was the media in Scandinavia making the relationship between European citizens and migrants even worse, blaming the latter for spreading the virus.

Additionally, the refugee centres that we were using to provide the sports activities for women and girls have closed to visitors due to Covid, meaning we are unable to run our sessions there.

This makes it very stressful for the refugee women that we are trying to help, and it’s very difficult for a non-profit organisation like ourselves to pay for transportation to get these women out of the centres to the nearest sports arena.

But we are still doing all we can to work with the communities outside these centres by providing workshops and sports activities and are very much looking forward to starting our activities.”