My Name is Gulafsha Ansari and I grew up in Dharavi , Mumbai.
I grew up in the slums of Dharavi . My Dad used to sell bags at the posh & upmarket Hanging gardens area at Walkeshwar -a locality in south of Mumbai. When you live in slums, there are endless troubles that one has to go through and from a very young age I learnt to manage with limited resources. My family of 6 used to live in a 170 Sq ft room.
I began playing football as a 9-year-old and I loved the game from day one! I was also quite a good player. But as a Muslim girl I faced a lot of pressure and disapproval for wearing shorts and playing what was considered to be a man’s sport in my community. Luckily for me though, my parents saw my talent and my interest in the sport and refused to be bogged down by the community’s narrow-mindedness.
With two sisters married off by the age of 16, I don’t know how I would have achieved what I have without my parent’s support. I think that every child should have the opportunity to play football once. Girls should be allowed to get married whenever they want but they should experience the joy of playing football at least one.
I make sure I talk to the parents of the girls in my community. I hope to convince them to give their children the opportunity that I have been given and gain the vast life experience that football has given me.
“I stepped out of my comfort zone, because that is what I believe and in doing so, I have proven that, given an opportunity, Indian girls can play and excel at a sport like football.
People tell me it takes courage to challenge long-standing traditions and beliefs, but I was determined to open doors for girls who dream of a different life. I work with around sixty girls in India, teaching them football and helping them to grow into strong, independent women who are not afraid to achieve their dreams.
I started my career when I was 9 years old and I was trained as a player by Magic Bus (NGO) based out of Mumbai. In 2010, I flew to South Africa for FIFA 2010 for the football For Hope (Football Project for the disadvantaged) tournament.In 2011, I was chosen for a football camp in US run by Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy (JFSLA) In JFSLA we had to propose a project for community development.
My Project to get girls from my area to play football was chosen as the best project in an online poll. I got over 6000 votes in the Julie Foudy Sports Leadership Academy in the United States of America.
I got the opportunity to go to the London Olympics and visit the Olympic village/stadiums/award ceremony where I met many top athletes from different countries whose stories inspired me further.
In 2016, I went to France for Street Football World, Football-3 Tournament which was held in Lyon and they were 500 children from 32 different NGOs who participated in this tournament and I was part of the organizing committee as a Mediator.
WHY I WANT TO TRAIN GIRLS FROM THE SLUMS IN FOOTBALL?
I want to train the girls so that they can learn life skills and become self sufficient in future.My goal is to create leaders & role models in the community and to inspire other girls from the urban poor to realise their dreams and be independent.
We want the girls to realise there potential and with the help of football they can go places and live a better life.
IN THE PRESS :
IN 2013, TOI MUMBAI wrote about me in their article” From sports to social causes, Dharavi’s girls make big strides”.
Please read below to see excerpts from the article:
After traveling around the world, I realized that my Dream of giving girls a chance to play football was solely dependent on the NGO’s that I was working with. I then worked on my Project for 3 years without any financial support from these organizations. I ended up spending from my own savings to keep the project running, but with limited resources it was very difficult for me to keep the project alive and after sometime I had to stop because there was no support coming from the NGOs that were involved in the earlier stages of my project. This led me to start something of my own. I have realized that these organisations only look at using people like me for their own benefits.
I want to people to see the amount of work that goes behind conducting training sessions for the urban poor women/girls from Dharavi.
My main challenge has been my reluctance to ask support from anyone , as my ultimate aim is to give it back to the society We want to continue this project for atleast 10-15 years and just like any sport we are working with the youth and the results will be visible only post there development.A Long term goal is to help women/girls like me who have risen from the shanty's of Dharavi to be self sufficient , educated and pursuing there dreams .
I have started my own Firm with the help of like minded people and my organisation’s name is DREAMING IN A SLUM
I need your help to realise my dream of empowering girl children across India.
Pic : Gulafsha in action
CAMPAIGN GOAL :
We aim to start a Football School with life skills coaching for the Urban Poor girls.
We will be making a Women’s/Girls Team who will participate in different age category tournaments across India, to start of we will play local tournaments in Mumbai.A Tournament is being organised by MDFA which is the local football body from April onwards and we are looking for funds for the registration of the team along with the kit and equipment
Apart from this the sessions will include life skills lessons which we will be imparting with the help of either volunteers or teachers who will come and be part of our initiative.We are looking at approx 50 girls in the age category of 6-16 yrs and the total funding goal including crowdfunding charges will be 6L INR .
COST BREAKUP :
Graphic : This is the total funds we need to raise for the first centre at Santacruz
How does crowdfunding work?
Crowdfunding in India is a relatively new concept & is growing very quickly.
It’s s concept that allows a large number of funders (like you) to fund an Idea or a cause or event by giving small amounts of money online. Fueladream is a crowdfunding site and platform in India that allows for such a pooling of funds.
You can fund innovations & ideas on FuelADream and be the first to get these products or make them come true. You can also do a good turn by funding charities and causes through crowdfunding. When you fund a charity it’s more like a donation & you get small innovative rewards like a shout-out on a FB page or a thank you email from the beneficiaries.