Remote village of Mizoram promotes gender equality
Updated: Nov 15
October 28, 2020
Golden Baby Leagues
(Credits to AIFF)
With the fight for gender equality marching ahead and demanding attention, it’s a testament to the force of the movement that villages as remote as Mizoram, Champhai are taking grand strides in improving their attitude as a society in an effort to be more inclusive and progressive. Only a short journey away from the Indo-Myanmar border, this village is quietly taking small but meaningful steps to promote this social cause through Golden Baby Leagues.
"We started the Golden Baby Leagues with mixed-gender matches and it had a magical response from parents in the locality. At the end of the season, you won't believe, the highest scorer was an 8-year-old girl," Prakhar Soni said, according to News18.
The YLL Golden Baby Leagues was an effort taken by the 8one Foundation, who created the Baby Leagues programs, implemented nationally. Through the implementation of this program over the last couple of years, the foundation has discovered and honed the talents of particularly gifted children, according to Fact News. Through this discovery, they have managed to grab the attention of prestigious academies like Bengaluru FC, Reliance Foundation Young Champs, Bhaichung Bhutia Football Schools, allowing them to catapult football in India for everyone by valuing the balance of a child’s academics as well as their love for the sport parallelly.
"Champhai has produced National level players like Robert Lalthlamuana, Lalruatthara and many more. That's one of the main reasons why we zeroed down on this district. Mizoram's grassroots football structure has been exceptionally robust. The District Football Association of Champhai has provided us with their database so we could kick-off the YLL Golden Baby Leagues program," Soni stated, according to News18.
"Creating a footballer is not our solitary target. We have always stressed on the holistic development of the kids as well as others who are part of the entire project. We appoint senior boys or girls as referees so they can hone their decision-making as well as technical skills," Soni maintained, according to News18.
Taking constructive criticism in stride, the foundation edited the age groups later in the year to help the children participating to hone their skills and matching them to appropriate coaches. In 2018, along with the change in age group, they went a step further and invited prospective coaches or scouts from other organizations only once every child had an equal opportunity to play approximately 50 games over the course of two years. This healthy competition is pushing children of all genders to develop maturely, giving them each a place to grow, physically and academically.
The idea behind this program lies not only on the basis of growing a healthy relationship with the sport or finding a balance between extracurriculars and academics. Here lies a transparent and open opportunity for any and all children, in a field that typically does not welcome girls, in the same manner it does for boys. It emboldens the creation of an environment that overlooks a person’s gender and focuses on their growth to shape them, boy, girl or any other gender, into well-rounded people.
Sources: (News 18, AIFF)
Edited by : Shreya Gupta and Aditya Das