The world is bearing the brunt of the Covid-19 pandemic since it was first seen in Wuhan, China, in December 2019. Following the outbreak, the Government of Nepal declared a national lockdown and imposed a ban on almost every sector.
The most affected ones are the tourism, education, entertainment, and sports sector. Though the pandemic has affected almost all sectors, its most underrated impact is on the mental health of the people, especially children. They are forced to remain inside closed doors and not allowed to go to school, get an education, meet their friends, and play with them.
Hardly any sports activities have been organized at the national and local level ever since the lockdown was enforced some 10 months ago. The governing bodies of sports are still in a ‘wait and see’ mood. However, the ‘Grassroots Girls Football Festival’ which is being organized in Katase of Kailali has provided an opportunity for the children to come out of the confinement and play with their friends leaving the COVID worries behind.
Almost 350 girls gathered in the local ground to participate in the ‘Grassroots Girls Football Festival 2021’ organized by Rara Foundation in association with the Asian Football Federation (AFC) and All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) on the 1st of January. The festival was jointly inaugurated by Mr. Ramesh Silwal, Member Secretary of Nepal Sports Council; Mr. Karma Tshering Sherpa, President of All Nepal Football Association (ANFA); Mr. Pradip Kumar Chaudhary, Chairperson of Janaki Rural Municipality and Mr. Bhojraj Bhat, Chairperson of Rara Foundation.
Along with grassroots football, the ‘Grassroots Football Volunteer Workshop’ was also organized to develop volunteer coaches so that the children get training on a regular basis. The workshop was led by Mr. Upendra Man Singh, Vice Chairperson of ANFA. The workshop has managed to develop 35 local grassroots volunteer coaches.
Along with providing regular football training, Rara Foundation Chairperson Bhat said that the initiative aims at empowering girls from ex-bonded community and promote tourism at the local level through football.