By Nelson Mutsando
Unlike lots of girls, Debora didn’t grow up whispering the playful chant: “Anything boys can do, girls can do better,” at her male teammates across a soccer field or throughout a game of tag.
In Maputo, Mozambique, where Debora lives with her grandmother, girls don’t play sports or participate in games and activities…until now.
Recently, the teachers in Debora’s school were trained in our activity-, sports- and game-based curriculum, teaching essential life skills while building trust and self-confidence. Now, after much encouragement, all of the female students are active participants, including Debora and her friends.
"Before, I did not like playing football, because I did not know that playing is my right and I was afraid to play with the boys. My grandmother told me not to,” says Debora. "When I saw that my classmates were joining in and playing with the boys, I did too.”
After a few foot races on the field, Debora quickly discovered that she enjoys football and is a skilled player. With the support of her teacher and classmates, Debora asked her grandmother if she could join the school team. Her grandmother agreed. Now, Debora plays every day, demonstrating to everyone in her community that girls have the power to do anything they put their minds to.
“With Right To Play’s games and lessons, I learned to like sports and to respect others,” says Debora. “It’s grown my self-esteem.”