Monaco, Feb 17, 2018: Ahead of tomorrow’s Laureus World Sports Awards, Indian sport for development programme Yuwa, an organisation which uses football to empower young girls in rural Jharkhand to overcome violence and child marriage and choose their own futures, has been announced as the 2019 Laureus Sport for Good Award winner (Legendary Football Manager Arsène).
Legendary football manager Arsène Wenger made the announcement at a press conference alongside Laureus Academy Chairman Sean Fitzpatrick, Laureus Academy Members Nawal El Moutawakel and Missy Franklin,
Swedish footballer Kosovare Asllani, Yuwa founders Franz and Rose Gastler and programme participants Neeta Kumari, Hema Kumari, Konika Kumari, and Radha Kumari.
The Laureus Sport for Good Award presents to an organisation or individual who, in the opinion of the members of the Laureus World Sports Academy, has used the power of sport to improve the lives of young people.
The Academy believe Yuwa has made an outstanding contribution to society using football as a tool to transform the lives of young girls.
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 not in school, 60% of girls become child brides and female literacy rates only 45%.
The young girls in the programme use football to overcome violence, child marriage, endless poverty and a lack of opportunity.
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.
At tomorrow’s Laureus World Sports Awards Ceremony, Yuwa Founders Franz and Rose and programme participants Neeta, Hema, Konika and Radha will receive the Laureus statuette for their inspirational work in the sport for development space.
Neeta has five sisters and one brother, and although she watched three of her sisters married off as young teenagers, she focused on football, education and her future through her participation at Yuwa.
In 2018, nearly 300,000 young people all over the world directly benefited from more than 160 Laureus Sport for Good supported projects in 40 countries, working to end violence, discrimination and disadvantage by using sport as the tool for change.
One of Laureus Sport for Good’s key focus areas is promoting equality, empowerment and safety for young women and girls.
Of the 296,300 children and young people Laureus Sport for Good programmes reached worldwide in 2018, 49% were young women and girls. —- Laureus