Born into an ordinary middle class family, Mitu Roy could have lived the life of just another typical Bangladeshi girl, which usually features early marriage after a minimal level of education that cuts all connection with the outside world.
Fortunately this did not happened to the class XI student of Bogra Women’s College. Instead, Mitu, who got the exciting life as a mentor and became the idol of many girls of her age, as a trained football coach.
Mitu, after a brief career as a footballer, has got the unique opportunity to take lessons in football coaching and she has become an idol to all the adolescent girls of her community, thanks to the Goal project which is initiated to improve leadership quality of young women through sports in some developing countries.
“Earlier my life was limited in school and home and I was afraid to face something new. Now I can easily introduce myself with new people and have a better idea of the outer world,” Mitu said.
“Now all the children in my community love me and they are keen to learn new things from me. I am a hero to them,” she added.
Goal project is a unique community program supported by Standard Chartered Bank and implemented by BRAC and Women Win. It aims to empower young women for personal and economic development, using sport and education as vehicles for change.
The project is designed to introduce the target participants with four important aspects of life - money management, communication skills, health and hygiene and confidence of life skills - which they find in sports.
In the early stage of the project, 51 girls from three districts (Sylhet, Bogra and Narayanganj) were given
football training coaching in a 20-day residential camp in January this year and 41 of them later received advanced training to become football coaches.
The Goal project trained coaches are now working in their neighborhoods with help of BRAC to train children, especially girls, so that they not only learn the game but have a practical experience of the real world.
The project also includes three other disciplines of the sports cricket, karate and netball, which will be introduced to the participants soon.
“Sports can empower the young women in many ways as it is a lifestyle full of challenges. Besides, our participants are also given lessons of many other important issues like money management and health. This initiative will also reduce gender inequality and will grow confidence among women,” said Standard Chartered Bank’s chief executive officer Jim McCabe at the formal launching of this programme at a city hotel on July 7.