Cricket fever struck our Rehab Center on 9 July when we hosted our first ever Malala Premier League with teams from our Balbhavan (Slum schools) versus our Rehab Center children.
Every July since 2015, we have celebrated the birthday of Malala Yousafzai, the girls’ education activist’s, birthday. As part of our Educate, Empower, Lead campaign with Malala Fund in 2017, we recruited Malala peer mentors from within our projects. Although the campaign has ended we continue to recruit a new batch of 13-17 year old girls to lead on our Malala Day activities each year. They chose what we will do and then plan and deliver two major events.
The first is a day with our own children that highlights the strengths of girls and boys to demonstrate that we have equal rights and are stronger together. The second is an awareness event on Malala’s birthday, 12 July. In past years, this has included street rallies and plays and workshops and activities with local schools and communities to promote equality in education.
On Sunday 9 July, eight teams competed for the Malala Premier League trophy. We started with under 13 girl’s and boy’s matches, followed by the over 13s. It was then time for the winners of each qualifying rounds to play against each other, girls versus boys. Our Rehab Center teams who have a real passion for the game, practice every day and quickly led the field. In the interests of equality, for the finals we mixed things up a little, combining our girls and boys into one Balbhavan and one Rehab Center team made up of equal numbers of boys and girls who competed in the grand final.
The final winners were our Rehab Center teams with the Balbhavan over 13 girls taking the Fair Play trophy home. Other prizes included girls' and boys' most valuable player. All in all, it was a fantastic day full of laughter, stunning cricket skills and inclusion.
Our activities continue on 12 July with another rally and street plays in one of our city slums and at two of our busiest bus stands where people from local villages can be found. Partnering with our Childline and Udaan (child marriage) projects, our street plays dramatise the story of Malala, child marriage and the importance of girls’ education.
We are Snehalaya and we stand with Malala to ensure every girl receives an equal right to education.