5 out of 10 girls in Jharkhand drop out of school and become child brides. But not these girls.
Face unimaginable challenges.
Builds confidence, provides skills and creates hope.
The state of Jharkand ranks 27 of 30 for female vulnerability in India. Only 50% of school-aged girls attend school.
I am from a place where girls are not treated as equals.Kusum
Yuwa girls create their own soccer teams and are mentored for 9 hours each week.
My mother taught me to be independent. Yuwa taught me how to dream.Sita
6 in 10 become child brides. Thousands trafficked each year as laborers or sex workers.
I thought I was a burden, like a bag of stones, for my parents.Radha
Gain skills and education. Yuwa girls who coach earn double their fathers’ hourly wages.
I am not a liability to my parents. I am an asset.Renu
Female literacy is just 55% and many mothers can't even sign their name.
Many women are illiterate. They are beaten and disrespected by their husbands and sons.Hema
Role models to other girls—in their communities, across India and around the world.
To be a role model at this age makes me proud of myselfRenu
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Yuwa, which means "youth" in Hindi, works specifically with girls from impoverished families in rural Jharkhand, India—a place where girls are at risk of child marriage and human trafficking. It is a program that uses team sports and education to build character, confidence, and courage. It is a place where girls who don't yet know their worth can meet to compete, achieve goals, and create brighter futures. Yuwa prepares girls to break the cycle of poverty—permanently.
Yuwa was founded in 2009 when American Franz Gastler moved to Jharkhand from Delhi, where he had been working as a business consultant, and witnessed the striking disparity between the lives of girls and boys. He began to help girls challenge this inequality through team sport and education.
What started with one team quickly grew to several hundred girls. Today, more than 300 girls play each day on Yuwa's teams, making it one of the largest girls’ soccer programs in India, with 90 percent of teams coached by young women. Teams play on unused agricultural fields and any flattened piece of ground they can find.
In 2015 Rose Thomson (now Rose Gastler) founded Yuwa School, a premier school to give girls the tools they need to become empowered citizens, discover their own identity, and prepare for admission to universities in India and abroad. Girls age 6 to 18 in Yuwa School are taught in English, learn from world-class educators from India and abroad, and are supported by a long list of dedicated volunteers.
What sets Yuwa apart? Girls in Yuwa gain the tools and support they need to truly take control of their own lives in the face of extreme adversity. We teach life and leadership skills, and then provide the opportunities to earn scholarships, respect, and income as coaches and mentors. Today, more than 30 girls in Yuwa have spoken at universities, TEDx events, and other conferences across India and around the world. Yuwa girls are inspiring girls in their communities, throughout India, and across the globe to know their own worth.