My name is Chanda Kumari. I am 14 years old. And from Hutup, a village in Jharkhand I want to talk about how I am making my life special. And that too, I am living in a village where many other girls can not. Girls in the village work in the village and hang around. They have only work in their houses. I am studying and going to school. In villages people think girls cannot get jobs. They think girls should only work in their houses. They think when a girl gets married, she goes to her husband’s house. They think she will only be a mother and a housewife. This makes me a little bit nervous because it happens to the girls. I have seen that in village and it would happen to me. This makes me feel sad because these girls will only work in their houses. I would not be happy to be only a mother and a housewife. Because I want to get job, I want to earn money and not depend on my husband or family like other girls in my family. In villages, girls have babies, clean the house, do field work, cook, and wash clothes. Women are really busy They don’t have time to sit and rest. Men work outside of the house. like builders and brokers. They do not do housework everytime. They read newspaper while girls make food. Boys are sitting and sleeping and don’t help clean They think only girls do this work. In other houses in my village people don’t think their daughter’s life. They send their sons to good schools and they send their daughters to government school. My mother doesn’t think like other people in my village. She doesn’t want her daughters to face the same situation as she did. My mother did not study at all Her father died. So, she had to watch the animals and she couldn’t go to school. Her life is not going good. She got married when she was 15 or 16 years old. She started having babies one year later My father doesn’t care about us. If he gets money, he goes and buys alcohol. He has studied until 8th standard. He says cruel things to my mother. Because she did not go to school and cannot sign her name. But my father did not do anything with his education. My mother doesn’t want her daughters to get married soon. She thinks after they got job, then they get married. She doesn’t want us to be dependent on our husbands. She want us girls to work hard for education and do not get married soon. If you get married soon your life will go badly. It is our time to play football and study I think I am different from other girls. Because of YUWA. Neha, a woman who teaches football at YUWA. She tells us about health, safety, job and many things. Other girls don’t learn about these things. Because no one will teach these to them Everyone working in YUWA, supports and helps and teaches me. Other girls do not get this help. My father and my grandfather, they do not want me to go to play football and YUWA classes. They think I am in other If I wear shorts, they get angry. If I come from practice late, they get angry My grandfather, everyday says, don’t go to play football, don’t go to classes. Everyday he says, that’s enough, no more football. He thinks I should be working in the house. i tell my mother the things my grandfather says. She tells me don’t stop going, YUWA is good for you I was chosen for the team that went to Spain. My family asked me, Will the foreigners s* you in Spain. I said, If they did, that would be good. Because I could study in Spain. Then they said, okay, go. In Spain, i’ll say, I like that girls and boys are not separated. In villages girls and boys are kept apart. In Spain, girls and boys can be friends, but in villages, they cannot be friends. At YUWA, there are boys, we play with them, and become friends with them I still come to YUWA because there are many opportunities for girls to be special. YUWA is opening a school, I want to study there. So, I can join YUWA’s school. YUWA’s school is good for us. In YUWA there are many good teachers. I like to speak English with them I like to learn about where they are from. I want to travel USA again I want to study in University there. I want to study to become a film director. I want to make movies for villagers and teach them how to live better lives. So, that the girls can get study and get jobs. They don’t just stay in their houses. YUWA helped me to go outside of India and study hard. I do handwork at YUWA At YUWA, I face challenges, maybe I succeed, maybe not, but I still do hardwork. My mother tells me to work hard. She works hard too. She is a little bit sick, but still do hard work. She doesn’t sleep and still do handwork and not give up. YUWA and my mother teach me to work hard always. Being different from other girls makes me feel good and happy. I am happier than other girls who cannot make their lives special and I can. If I could send a message to other girls, across India, I would say, If you want to do something you can, if you work hard, you can do something special in your life.

How Football Helped Me Escape Child Marriage | Chanda Kumari

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