Children International’s Sports for Development Program Empowers Girls

International Day of the Girl Child Recognizes Girls’ Rights and the Unique Challenges Girls Face Around the World
Oct 9, 2014 5:30 PM ET
Campaign: Empowering Girls

On December 19, 2011, the United Nations General Assembly declared October 11 as the International Day of the Girl Child, a day to recognize girls’ rights and the unique challenges girls face around the world. Recently, at a special event for the HeForShe campaign, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson called on men and boys around the world to join the movement for gender equality. Children International, a child-focused humanitarian organization, integrates gender equality and female empowerment throughout their programming to challenge discriminatory gender practices and restrictions.

One example of this can be seen in Children International’s Sports for Development program, an organized sports program that teaches the rules of life through positive skill building. The program is open to both young men and women and teaches participants skills like teamwork, goal setting, responsibility and conflict resolution.

This program often presents children and youth with their first alternative point of view of cultural stereotypes about women. For example, it is still rare for Colombian girls to play the same sports as boys, and it’s even rarer for them to play together. One Colombian youth, Edilma, didn’t let that stop her from joining the sports program.

Edilma said, “My friends told me soccer’s a sport for boys … that I should look for a sport for girls. But I feel happy playing soccer.” By joining the program, Edilma was able to challenge gender stereotypes in her community. And because young men and women play together in Children International’s Sports for Development program, they learn to work together and respect one another. Many young men in the program have changed their views of women and girls as a result of having participated.

Leiber, 13, a Sports for Development participant from Colombia, said, “I learned to respect women’s decisions, and that they have just as much right as I do to participate.”   

Watch Edilma’s story

Learn more about Children International’s Sports for Development program.

Learn more about how Children International is empowering girls.  

About Children International
Children International prepares children and youth to escape the traps of poverty by supporting their critical needs, building resilience and engaging them in transformative activities. Children International accomplishes this by providing crucial benefits and compassionate care through easily accessible, modern community centers. Children International’s presence, programs and supporters have a positive impact on children, youth, families and communities; provide protection; encourage self-sufficiency; and serve as catalysts for change.

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