According to Sara’s mother, the 16-year-old from Brazil used to be a shy, quiet girl, who was afraid of joining the project. With little knowledge of how to play football, Sara had her mother’s support from the start and it spurred her on to tackle her fears and reach for her goals.
“I didn’t know how to play anything, but I’ve made progress,” says Sara. “My brother used to criticise me saying footballs weren’t toys for girls, but now he calls me and teaches me how to play.”
Lifeskills and football
As well as learning how to play football, Sara has gained a wealth of other skills. Plan’s project, which is part of the Because I am a Girl campaign, runs workshops which educate children about their rights, gender, citizenship, ethnic background and sexual and reproductive health. Thanks to the workshops, Sara now feels capable of discussing these issues with others.
Sara’s mother, Maria, 52, is happy that her daughter is taking part in the project as she can see a positive change in her. “Sara has always been quiet and charismatic,” says Maria. “She respects everyone and studies hard.”
Sport builds girls’ confidence
Plan’s project has given Sara the confidence to take on a number of additional activities. The teenager is part of her local church where she leads arts and crafts activities having learnt how to make puppets in a Plan International arts project. She also hosts her own news-based show on the local Verdes Mares FM Radio.
“I am very happy about hosting my own radio show. It is hoped my programme will be benefitting from three new sponsors soon, which means I should start receiving a wage.”
Sara remains thankful to the football project, as it has given her the confidence to pursue her dreams and achieve her goals. It has even inspired her to work with an organisation like Plan International in the future. “When I graduate in Business Administration and get a job, I want to be able to invest in projects from serious organisations such as Plan International that has helped many families and communities such as mine,” says Sara.
Find out more about Plan International's global work supporting girls at plan-international.org/girls