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These 18 girls inspired an entire country, Support Yuwa | Every Girl’s future in her own hands

Society teaches girls to fit in. YUWA coaches girls to stand out. Yuwa sports foundation is rewriting their script—and it all starts with football.

Nikhil Kanaujia
Last updated: 07.11.2017
18 girls inspired an entire country, Support Yuwa

It’s a story of a  group of teenage girls from a village on the outskirts of Ranchi in Jharkhand achieved something that sportspersons with the best facilities and support in cities often aspire for but don’t always succeed.

On July 13, 2014,  the 18 tribal girls representing Yuwa India under-14 all-girls team were placed third among 10 teams playing for the Gasteiz Cup in Victoria Gasteiz in Spain. The girls — a majority of whom played outside their village in Ormanjhi for the first time — were placed third after two wins, two losses, and one draw against international teams. Earlier during the Donosti Cup, Spain’s biggest football tournament, the girls made it to quarterfinals from among 36 international teams.

A brief about Yuwa, Foundation uses girls’ team sports as a platform for social development in rural India. Yuwa operates in Jharkhand – one of the poorest, least literate, and most lawless regions of India. Here, girls are rarely given a chance to choose their own future. But the girls of Yuwa are rewriting their script—and it all starts with football.

In image: During a football camp

A team sport like football teaches us a lot about life and its challenges. Team spirit, bonding, coordination and a never-say-die attitude are aspects that are hard to miss in the beautiful game which is why Yuwa foundation, a non-profit organization based in Jharkhand, is using football as a medium to fight for a very important social cause in India. The NGO works for the social development of girls from underprivileged backgrounds and is using a very different technique to achieve its goals.

Yuwa is one of India's largest girls football programs, with more than 250 players involved on an almost day-to-day basis. Founded by an American named Franz Gastler in 2009, the organization's prime role is to prevent child marriage, illiteracy, and human trafficking, especially involving young girls from rural areas in India.

In Jharkhand, six out of 10 girls drop out of school and become child brides. But the Yuwa girls are changing the game in the state through football. Just outside Ranchi in a village called Hutup, girls are being educated, learning practical skills, teamwork and of course, they play football.

Their inspirational journey is now being captured in a web series titled #GirlsWithGoals, which takes a look at their journey from Hutup to Spain, where they are currently taking part in the Donosti Cup - the largest youth football tournament of its kind being held in the city of San Sebastian from July 3-9.

Just like in their real lives, the girls are battling it out against all teams from across the world, to leave a mark in the tournament. After losing their first match 6-0, the Yuwa girls came back with a bang to win their second match 1-0, but again suffered a heartbreaking 3-0 loss in the third match. But the girls have not given up and are sweating it out to give their best in the remaining matches.

Founded in 2009, Yuwa is now one of the largest girls’ football programs in India, with 250 players, 150 of whom practice daily. Over 600 girls have been members of Yuwa so far.  As a football club, Yuwa is one of the few teaching life skills, with a focus on positive coaching. As an NGO, Yuwa is the only sports for development organization in India with daily practices for all teams. What makes Yuwa different? Yuwa is absolutely local, with absolute ownership by girls and it’s absolutely fun! The result? Soaring growth, stunning attendance and ‘stick-to-it-iveness’ by our players. Join the movement!

Help Yuwa combat child marriage by educating a girl child in India!


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