Yuwa, founded in 2009 by Franz Gastler, uses girls’ team sports as a platform for educational opportunities in rural India. Yuwa works with hundreds of girls in a disadvantaged region of Jharkhand, India – one of the poorest and least literate regions of India – to develop the skills they need to create a self-determined life. These skills begin with teamwork and confidence through team sport – namely football – and are advanced further through school and peer support as well as connections with their families. The girls are coached to build leadership skills and are given personal and team growth responsibilities. Yuwa provides a framework for the girls to establish life goals that enable them to be self-sufficient and contribute meaningfully to their community.
“Yuwa girls use technology to discover the wonders of language, math, and science. They are defying the odds—and defining their own futures.” – Franz Gastler
“Yuwa girls are usually the first in their families to set their sights on higher education, despite the pressure in their communities to drop out of school and get married,” Franz Gastler says. “By engaging with technology, girls are expanding their world-views and enhancing their employability.”
How Yuwa works
Through this strategy of consistently sustained coaching, girls and their families aspire to a future other than becoming a child bride. They are also able to avoid becoming a victim of human trafficking. When a girl is part of a Yuwa team, she becomes a more regular student through the positive peer pressure from her teammates. She pays attention to her own health and to the health of her teammates. She begins to take her future into her own hands. She marries when she chooses—she and her coaches meet her parents to discuss a future other than an early marriage.
“I would like to change the way people in my village think about girls. In my village, people think that a girl cannot be a great person. Villagers only think that boys can do anything in their lives. That’s why they only send boys to private schools, to English schools, so that boys can get a better education and boys can earn a good name for their family. But the villagers think girls should not go to school.” – Konika, 14 years old
Microsoft Edge is honored to partner with YUWA and bring to life a new Yuwa website that connects each visitor to the girls who join a Yuwa team. Now anyone can participate in a deeper connection with all those who believe in Yuwa’s work. New website features include:
360 Day in the Life view, authored by the girls – Attend a soccer practice in a full 360-degree view and cheer them on. Find points of interest near the field, key moments during play, and links to videos filmed by Yuwa staff and the girls. The brand-new tool used to create this view, 360 Story Builder, is packaged as a WordPress plugin for use by nonprofits.
Interactive infographics – Get the facts about Jharkhand and Yuwa girls that articulate the challenges they face and Yuwa’s effectiveness in changing lives.
Opportunities to advance the mission – Here’s how you can connect to the girls through sponsoring them as a team or individual, and learn about how much each contribution makes a difference.
Partnering with Yuwa offered the Microsoft Edge team a unique opportunity to use web technology for a more interactive platform built to meet Yuwa’s goals. We utilized Microsoft Edge’s support for elaborate 360-degree content viewing in a unique way for immersive storytelling through the web. This platform tells the story of Yuwa – who it serves, how, and demonstrates the lives Yuwa has impacted thus far. We are honored to support Yuwa’s work to empower disadvantaged and at-risk girls in Jharkhand.
“The new website creates a platform for the world to see what the Yuwa girls are accomplishing and overcoming each day. We are able to have people from all of the world become a part of these girls’ stories, helping them change their lives and family forever,” says Franz. “This new site will help us tell the challenges the girls in Jharkhand face and how we can expand our program and continue to reach more girls, families and communities.”
Visit Yuwa now to learn more about the Yuwa program and hear the girls’ inspiring stories.
About Microsoft Edge Web Showcase
Microsoft Edge Web Showcase is dedicated to partnering with organizations around the world to highlight extraordinary and exciting new ventures. This program explores opportunities to contribute to a diverse set of literacy programs and to develop partnerships to showcase web technology.