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Youth Football Plus provided an opportunity

Puja standing infront of the rowPuja standing infront of the row
Puja Chaudhary (14) lives in Darakh ward # 8, in Kailali District with her parents in a joint family comprising of 27 members. Puja studies in grade 10 in Darakh Secondary School, Harinagar. In reflecting her past, she said, “I was just like a pigeon inside the cage, as all of my daily activities were limited to either chore household works and or studies. The girls playing football is very unique in our village. I never even dreamt of playing football”. In one of the regular school days, Puja heard about ‘Youth Football Plus’ from her teacher. She became curious and was interested to participate. She was able to convince her parents and inform the school of her interest. Later, she participated in basic football skills training and thereon her interest in football grew. Following rigorous selection criteria of football skills, school service project written and oral tests, Puja was selected as one of the eight youth ambassador from among eight schools to visit Qatar and South Africa.

Sharing on her achievements, she said, “After being selected as a youth ambassador, my parents became very happy and supported me a lot. They encouraged me to play football. I worked hard and attended trainings regularly. I am happy that I could play football as other boys of my age. In the training, I learnt football skills like passing the ball to other fellow players, heading, kicking, and even dribbling. This training has enabled me to play football well and my confidence has increased”. As part of the school service project, she was involved in plantation, solid waste management and sanitation within the school surroundings. She also participated in painting competition with the theme social evils of the communities. Talking about the topic, she shared, “In our communities, particularly early marriage, gender discrimination, alcoholism, and domestic violence are very common. Sometimes, these often lead to serious crime affecting the entire community. To cope with these social evils, I and my other colleagues visited the communities disseminating messages that we developed. People around the community acknowledged the messages”. Apart from this, she also participated in elocution competition and ToT (Training of Trainer) on leadership development for 5 days.

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