Hasina, 17 years old,
participated in the Kabaddi project
“Before I started playing Kabaddi, I felt I had no value.”
Hasina's strength and courage on the Kabaddi court are reflected in everything she does. She has overcome shyness, stigma and gender stereotypes. Her family, living in a poor community which sits beside the railway tracks, are clearly proud. “Before I started playing Kabaddi, I felt I had no value. I just did house chores to support my family and went to school. When the project started last year, my family's reaction to my wanting to play Kabaddi was negative. My mother and brother told me that if I wear shorts and T-shirts in the public field during the training sessions, no one will marry me. I decided to go on a hunger strike, so I didn't eat for three days and I told my father that I wouldn't eat until he would change his mind and let me play.”
Terre des hommes works to empower girls and young women in disadvantaged communities. To achieve this, the support of men like Hasina's father is critical. “I was able to speak to my father and make him understand that playing Kabaddi would be a good thing for me, and he was then able to convince the rest of my family. Now all of them support me."
Hasina is now representing the state of West Bengal in Kabaddi. This achievement helped to give her confidence to speak more openly with her family about thoughts and concerns. "My father had arranged my marriage for this year. I told my family that I didn't want to be married, that it was too early and not the right time for me." The father therefore accepted to postpone her marriage.
Hasina and her friends are now more equipped in dealing with gender-based harassment. “In the past, when I walked to school, I would come to a road where there were boys who would make comments to me. I used to be afraid that something bad would happen. Now that I play Kabaddi, I am not afraid anymore. I feel confident and strong enough to confront them if I have to. And if I ever need help, I now have the support of my team. “