Friday, November 12, 2010

Spotlight on Seema

    Growing up in a family with 3 older brothers, Seema Singh, 13 years old, grew up in her brothers shadows. When Seema heard about girls playing netball in her village, she couldn’t believe it. She had never heard of girls playing sports before! She was so enamored after she saw a Goal session, that she begged her older brother for permission to join the program. He refused and told her to stay at home, telling her there’s no use in a girl who can run around and play. Seema refused to give up so easily and asked the Goal staff to help persuade her brother. Her brother begrudgingly agreed, saying he was only allowing it because Seema would end up quitting anyways. Today, almost a year later, Seema’s brother is the first in the family to rush Seema off for her Goal sessions.

    Before joining Goal, Seema had never attended school. She had never even thought about going to school or anything in her future besides marriage. Seema had never interacted with girls her age before coming for the program. When she talks about the friends she’s made through Goal, her eyes light up as she says that “my team mates are like the sisters I’ve always wanted!” Seeing the other girls in Goal, many of whom are in school, Seema was motivated to join school and now she proudly attends a nearby Government school.

    When she first came for the program, Seema admits she had never thought about her own hygiene or the way she dressed. After seeing the Goal coaches and talking with other girls in the program, Seema started dressing and cleaning herself. Seema says that before her hygiene lessons from Goal, she would never properly clean herself while bathing as she thought it was wrong and dirty, but after understanding how necessary it was to keep your body clean she now religiously maintains her cleanliness.

Seema on her experience with Goal:

“Before joining Goal, I was shy, I never had any confidence and I was scared of speaking to people. After coming here and making so many friends, and seeing the way my coaches play and teach, I have become such a strong person and I feel so proud of myself. I never thought of doing anything in the future, but I now have dreams. I want to become a Goal Champion, I want to study and become a teacher or a coach.”

“Playing netball makes me happier than everything. I have become so healthy and so fit from exercising that my brothers also now want to play and exercise. My brothers and my family look at me with new respect and tell me that I will do something with my life. When I went outside Aali for the first time to play a match, I came back home and told my family about how we won and my family was so proud that my brother took me out and bought me a new dress for the first time!”

“When I am chosen to go outside my village and play, I feel like I am worth something. I have never seen such things before; I never thought I would get a chance to see such big people and such beautiful things. When I see the way my coaches and teachers talk to such big people, I feel very proud and feel maybe I also can become like my coaches one day!”

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