Sara Aly Elzanaty,
Tdh's football coach for girls

“Yes, you can!”

“It was my idea to suggest girl’s football in New Damietta in Egypt. The local club wouldn’t allow girls to play. I wanted to teach them a “Yes, you can!” as an answer and try to promote equality through sport. Even though society is beginning to see how important sport is for girls, there’s still a conservative mentality. People think it’s inappropriate for women to exercise in public.

Our football classes offer girls a safe environment to play, but also to talk about their problems and express their feelings. Many girls are isolated. One of them was very depressed and had tried to take her own life. Football has helped her regain her self-confidence. Girls learn to say “No” and to ask themselves, “What do I want out of life?” It helps them avoid and overcome challenging situations such as early marriage, sexual harassment and family problems. Many people think football is for boys only, but I show parents how it improves their daughters' self-confidence. Attitudes need to change. I'm committed to girls being able to play and feel free.”

 

Read our report on the Tdh football activities for children in Egypt