The project “access to sports and physical activities for girls” implemented by the Organization for Women Initiative was formally inaugurated on April 10, 2017.
The event was organized in Rabia Balkhi High School in Kabul. 150 girls, the direct beneficiaries of the project participated in the event. They were wearing the different colors and styles sports outfits and were assigned to the different teams to present their skills in volleyball, football, taekwondo and gymnastic.
The Finnish Ambassador Ms. Anne Meskanen was warmly welcomed upon her arrival at the event. All the girls were excited to meet the Ambassador who shook hands with each girl of the sports teams. The joy of doing sports was clearly visible on the cheery faces of the girls.
In her speech, Ambassador Anne Meskanen pointed out that sports is a vehicle to improve the status, liberty and wellbeing of women, girls and the marginalized. Especially in the countries like Afghanistan sports should be used as a tool to eradicate gender inequalities and promote human rights. She added that girls’ participation in sports is an important social and economic empowerment tool, and there is a direct correlation between girls’ participation in sports, higher education and employment.
Jan Alam Hussaini, the senior advisor to the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee mentioned in his speech that recently the Afghan girls have made remarkable achievements in sports, taken active part in national competitions and have also successfully represented Afghanistan in international competitions. He appreciated the support of the Embassy of Finland and hoped for the continuation of such support at broader scale to extend the project to other schools.
The gymnastics team of girls aged 6 to 16 years old presented their skills and the audience was impressed by the performance and encouraged the team with clapping and cheering.
The grounds for the football, volleyball and taekwondo site were inaugurated through ribbon-cutting ceremony. After that all the teams entered in their specific grounds and performed how much they had learned only in two months.
To finalize the ceremony a 400 meter running event was organized. The running Ambassador was accompanied by two girls and one sports trainer. The girls were thrilled to take part in the competition, running with their full zeal and anxious to become the first to break the ribbon.
The project funded through the fund for Local Cooperation (FLC) aims to promote the girls' participation in sports and physical activities. In addition to the coaching sessions the project also provides the sports equipment and outfit to the students. Furthermore, the project enables them to learn and continue sports professionally by joining one of the federations of the Afghanistan National Olympic Committee.