At the young age of only 24, Parvati from Mumbai is a true role model. She could have been a child bride like her sisters. But she became a coach instead. She fought for her right to play sports as woman and finally even started her own NGO that uses sports to empower especially girls from poor families.

QUICK FACTS

Parvati’s own NGO, the Leher Foundation, started out with only 3 girls in 2010. Five years later and after taking part in the FCSA Young Coach Education Programme, Parvati and her peer coaches have over 200 children under their wings. She plans on opening the current all-girls activities to boys as well.

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PARVATI PUJARI

Project: India, October 2013-2014
Parent Organisation: Leher Foundation
Born: 1990
Current work: Magic Bus, Mumbai

Project India | Facts
5
Peer Young Coaches
200
Benefiting Children

MY STORY

“I was born in Mumbai and grew up in a family with six girls. My parents don’t have a formal education. My oldest sister had to get married when she was only 13 years old. I was afraid that this could happen to me as well, and that I would not have the chance to decide things on my own. When I was about eight years old, I wanted to do sports. My parents couldn’t understand this, since I was a girl and a girl has to stay at home and shouldn’t run around – especially not with boys.

The moment my parents understood that sport is important to me, things started to change. I was allowed to take part in the “Magic Bus” programme and later on, I started to work with children as well. These kids have a similar background like myself and I wanted to support them. I was involved in establishing the Leher Foundation. As a woman, I could support a friend who founded this NGO and who wanted to support girls. I have coached the girls, because the parents trusted rather me than any man.

At first, many of the parents were suspicious and didn’t know why a girl should do sports. Soon, I found out how to explain the benefits of exercise to the parents – every kid needs to move and run around, through sports girls and boys can learn a lot. Telling my very own story helped winning the parents’ confidence.

Thanks to my commitment, I could even get into university. Therefore, I became a role model for the children and youth around me. To learn more skills and to widen my knowledge I decided to join the Young Coach-programme.

Thanks to this training programme and my following nomination by Scort, I could even travel abroad and participate in the UN Youth Leadership Camp. In Korea, I could exchange with young people from all over the world, which was very valuable for my work and me.”

Gallery Parvati

Young Coaches

Our Young Coaches are community leaders and role models in less privileged societies. They commit themselves to support the children of their communities by conveying important social topics (conflict resolution, inclusion, HIV prevention, etc.) through football. Each of the Young Coaches represents a unique personal story.