On Father’s Day, we bring you from a small village in the state of Bihar, an aspiring girl footballer’s story about her Dad the Superhero … her dad who may be a poor man, but with the heart to say, ‘my child, keep on dreaming’.
Fourteen year old Moni Kumari is a girl who just loves messing with her opponents on the football field. “I just love football, because I love to run and jump and just kick the ball!” says Moni, who comes from Janipur village, some 30 kilometres from Patna. Moni is an eighth grader from the Rajkiya Madhya Vidhyalay, ( Janipur Government Middle School).
“How did I begin playing football? I spotted some of my classmates kicking a ball around on a field near my home. I saw these girls playing this game, and I wanted to learn. So they introduced me to their trainer, Rita-di. She gave me a form to fill up, which I did. That’s how I became a part of the girls football programme run by Gaurav Gramin Mahila Vikas Samiti,”says Moni.
GGMVS, supported by CREA (Creating Resources for Empowerment in Action ) has so far introduced over a thousand girls to football in Bihar.
But that’s just the beginning of Moni’s story. “My mother wasn’t happy that I wanted to play football. She didn’t like the idea of girls running about a field. She didn’t want me to wear shorts. But my Dad encouraged me. He told my mother to let me play football. My father works with a team of men who set up pavilions and pandals for marriages and functions. So he is busy during the wedding season. When he is not working, and I have to go to play a match far from home, my Dad comes along with me,”says Moni.
“When I was selected to play a match in Arwal town, and when at the end of the match the players were given medals, my Dad was especially proud. When we went home, he showed the medal to my mother, ad told her, ‘you must support our daughter’. So now, my mother doesn’t object to my training or to my going for matches. My Dad is my biggest fan. If I get the chance, I will try hard to master football, and my dream is to be able to represent my state or my country in a really big match.”
Moni, who was one of the participants at the Caritas organized Football Match for Women’s Equality that was played at St Xavier’s College grounds in Patna, the capital of Bihar, expressed her gratitude to Caritas Suisse.”We village girls hardly get chances to play. I am so happy that Caritas brought us to Patna and had a match in such a grand place. It was really super, and we enjoyed the team spirit. I hope that through these matches, the government will give us girls some training so we can prove that we are as good as boys at football.”
However, Moni is thankful for her father’s love and understanding above all. “Most of all, I am very lucky to have a dad who supports my playing football, where some of my friends’ fathers are just the opposite. Some of my friends do not have such understanding fathers and continuing with football training becomes a problem for them. With my Dad’s support, I am sure I will be able to shine!”