Sonagacchi, a place in Kolkata people know exist but nobody talks about. Being a red light area and a place where thousands of women work as sex traders, the condition of the place as well as women out there is dreadful. But not anymore, there’s always a ray of hope and this time the city’s biggest red light area can now boast of its first-ever girls’ football team.

Source : jaagran

The team named ‘Amra Padatik’, will start their training from the first week of August. This initiative is taken by the Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, who have been fighting for the rights of sex workers and their children who face the stigma of belonging to a family of a sex worker. Through football, they want to fight against discrimination and the problems they face from the society.

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Zoya Sheikh (name changed), a class IX student, having a passion for football was sad when her favourite team Belgium didn’t win in the just concluded World Cup.
Speaking to TOI she says, “At first I was hesitant, but then I thought that if boys my age can play this game, so can I without thinking of societal pressure. This thought drives me to play football whenever I get time after completing my studies.”
Another student, Ankhi Das, and a die-hard Ronaldo fan, says she wants to put in the same passion in her routine practice sessions as him.

“All these restrictions about girls not playing football are man-made and it’s high time we defy such preconceived notions and prove to society that girls can play football with as much love and passion as boys,” she says.
Supporting her daughter’s decision  Ankhi mother says, “There’s hardly any difference between a girl and a boy now. I will encourage her to play football and will be there by her side if she wants to pursue it as her profession. I just want my daughter to lead a respectable life, unlike mine.”

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Smarajit Jana, the chief adviser of Durbar Mahila Samanwaya Committee, said the idea came up from the young girls and they were very enthusiastic while watching the recently concluded World cup.
More girls, not just sex workers’ children but also backward and underprivileged girls, will join them later.
“There is a lack of conscience in our society which gives rise to various differences and discriminations. So, I thought this is perhaps the best time to break the notion that football can only be played by boys,” said Jana.

This initiative will not only help them grow as independent women of India but will also make them confident of what their family was into when they were children. It is disheartening for people to make such remarks or treat them differently when all of us are humans and the same. At times, people don’t choose to do the work they are doing but the circumstances make them to.
“I want our girls’ team to fight all obstacles and play the game wholeheartedly so that we, children of sex workers, are accepted in society,” says Ismail Sardar, son of a sex worker who has represented India at international football tournaments and is part of Durbar’s boys’ team.

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