Beyond work, Why Sports!

23 Feb 2023

Beyond work, Why Sports!

“Before playing here at Bhoomi, the last time I played a game or touched a ball was in school, almost 20 years ago!”

– Vijayalakshmi, 33 years old.

“I can’t think of anybody else from my village in my age playing games. I feel so young”.

– Muniamma, 70 years old

“When I run, I feel free. I feel my worries and problems just disappearing in the wind. This is the best thing that has happened to me.”

– Tamil Selvi, 36 years old.

“There is no enmity between us. Yes, we compete and play with each other but the underlying feeling is friendship”

– Manasaatchi Amma, 63 years old.

These are the powerful words from the women/members of the Self Help Group (SHG) at Bhoomi Tiruvannamalai Farmers’ centre.

So, what is the big deal about playing a game… you may think. Unlike their urban counterparts, rural women still face a host of hurdles when it comes to their freedom and activities outside their homes. After a long day of work in the field, they are expected to return home to take care of household chores and their families, often dealing with domestic abuse and alcoholic husbands. The idea of adult women, especially older women playing games, is unheard of in this setting.

At Bhoomi Tiruvannamalai farm, games are encouraged, and the women eagerly look forward to playing simple games like Kabaddi, kho-kho, or throwball. Playing sports has brought these women newfound confidence and a sense of bonding, transforming their lives in a positive way.

“In rural villages usually, women are ‘allowed’ to work or earn money because their families need the income and not because of women empowerment, as one may think. Watching these women play with enthusiasm and determination is a true display of sporting spirit and an empowering experience for all who witness it.”

– Partha, facilitator at Bhoomi Tiruvannamalai Farm.