Girls are encouraged to play football
“My greatest desire is to become a famous football player in the national team. When I play in front of hundreds of people, I feel proud and like a big player. Our society doesn’t appreciate girls playing football. But I don’t feel different from the boys.”
Rami Parvin is a 16-year-old girl, passionate about football. But in Bangladesh girls are not supposed to play the game, and since Rami has always been interested in sports and exercise she doesn’t understand why.
“My football playing makes me feel strong and self-confident. I learned to ride a bicycle when I was seven and since then I use it wherever I go. I can also play handball, volleyball, cricket and badminton”, she says.
Started when she was eleven years
Rami Parvin started to play football at the age of 11.But then her mother fell sick and Rami had to give up football for about two years and take care of her mother instead.
“My mother needed help with everything, even to stand. I had to feed her by hand. There is no one in the world like my mother. I am so happy she is well and can work again”, says Rami.
Determined to become a good player
Then Diakonia’s partner MKP came to Rami’s school to talk about gender justice and they started a school team. Together with one of the teachers, the MKP staff encouraged Rami to become a team member. Now she is determined to become a good player and she is practising every day in the school breaks.
“I love to play. I have been selected to be the goalkeeper and protect my team from goals. I don’t want any balls in the net, so that we can win and earn fame for our school”.
Won a tournament in 2016
A moment of pride was when the school team participated in a tournament in 2016 and became champions.
“I felt honoured when we received the prize. It made me so happy and I just wanted to play more.”
The neighbours teased her parents
Rami Parvin is one of five sisters and the family lives in a remote area in northern Bangladesh. Her parents are farmers. Rami says that the neighbours have teased her parents many times for not having any girls.
“But I can play football, I can ride a bicycle and do many things that boys can. So I don’t understand the difference. My parents have seen the success of the football team and they also feel more confident and are not longing for a son anymore”.
Story told to Morjina Khatun, programme officer in Bangladesh