THIS month the world celebrated International Women’s Day. In The Sreepur Village, Bangladesh, they recognise the importance of this day every single day, and with this year’s theme focusing on #ChooseToChallenge, they would like to share Forida’s challenging story with you.
Forida is a 14-year old girl living in The Sreepur Village, Bangladesh, along with three of her siblings and her mother. When her father abandoned them, they became desperate, helpless in fact. Forida also has an older brother, and when their father left them, at just 20 years old, he tried to look after Forida and her family. Unfortunately, when her brother got married, his earnings were not enough to support his mother and siblings. Their mother became desperate, and with the pressure of crippling poverty and too many mouths to feed, they came to live in The Sreepur Village charity.
In her community, Forida was always into sport, and she liked to play every single game that came her way. She played cricket for the sheer love of it, and she even secretly played cricket with the neighbourhood boys in her community, desperate to not get caught as cricket in Bangladesh is perceived as a sport for boys, not for girls like Forida.
When she came to The Sreepur Village, she saw a group of girls playing cricket under the supervision of a female cricket coach. As soon as she was handed a bat, she started playing. Now she is dreaming of cricket as a career. On the 32nd anniversary of The Sreepur Village, Bangladesh, a friendly cricket match between staff and the children took place on the grounds of the village. Forida was one of the key players and performed very well.
“Cricket is the most popular sport in Bangladesh. But the men and boys in our community think cricket is not meant for us girls. Despite having a keen interest in playing cricket, I never got any help or encouragement from the male members of my community.
“In The Sreepur Village, along with my studies, I am playing cricket regularly, and now I am dreaming of being a professional cricketer.”
Forida chooses to challenge herself despite the opposition she has received regarding who should play cricket. The Sreepur Village will always ensure that every girl and every woman is empowered with the tools for an independent, equal and brighter future.
To find out more about The Sreepur Village, Bangladesh, then please visit: www.sreepurvillage.org.