A group of girls changing the community life of a village through playing football – sounds quite sensational nevertheless a reality in a village called Rangatungi. Only boys used to play on the village ground which Hanna Hamrom, a young Santal girl at her early teen, could not take for granted. Hanna looks back, “We watched our boys play football on a ground. During a football competition, I told my maternal uncle that I want to play. First my uncle was a bit confused”. Her uncle later discussed the matter with a school teacher. The teacher told them to bring all the girls to the ground who want to play. The girls started playing from the next day. Initially they used to play wearing their regular clothing. After some days their teacher gave them shorts and jerseys. The girls were a bit shy to wear those. “As boys also practiced in the field, first we felt uncomfortable in shorts. But with time we get used to it. Some people in our village used to poke us and say bad things”, recalls the girl. Their teacher backed them and persuaded their parents to let them play. The girls continued playing and in the next few years, they played a number of tournaments in other districts. Last year, the team participated in under-14 national competition. They became the champion in Rangpur division in this year.
The girls started playing football just because they loved it. They used to stay at home; now they travel to different parts of the country to participate in competitions. Local people now accepted the thing that girls play football. Football has changed her life. She claims, “I am Santal girl who used to be very shy and didn’t mix with Bengali girls. Football has brought me close to other girls – Muslim, Hindu and we all play together now. We pass a great time on the field and became good friends.” They now feel being at the same page as many differences have erased.
After receiving Joy Bangla Youth Award 2017, Hanna in her reaction said, “I thank Young Bangla for the award they are giving us. Young Bangla has given us the opportunity to tell our story to a big audience. Our team is very happy and grateful.” These girls have started dreaming big now. The girls of Rangatungi United Women Football team now aspire to play for the national team.