In slum communities, uneducated parents don’t allow their daughters to go to school, instead they are set to work to cook and clean, to learn the necessary skills for what is often an illegally early marriage in which youth pregnancies are common. OSCAR aims is to stop this cycle by educating and empowering the girls to change their community’s mindset. OSCAR gives them back their future.
These girls are the first members of their families to own a passport and travel, and it was some achievement for the organisers of the tour to have secured the records required to get them passports and visas to make the trip. The support of the British Deputy High Commission in Mumbai, a local travelling company and six leading Independent UK schools made the tour possible. The aim of this tour was to broaden the girls’ experience of the world and allow them to play football against schools in the UK.
They would also visit places that before they could only dream of. The girls were hosted by HRH The Countess of Wessex at Windsor Castle, they visited the London Eye, Go Ape and were guests of Manchester United and Everton Football Clubs. Malvern College, one of the six schools they visited on their 2018 tour worked hard over the 12 months that preceded the girls’ arrival to raise funds to support this life-changing football tour.
Fifteen girls aged 17 and under, were hosted at the school in October and took part in activities such as kayaking in the pool, indoor climbing and hip-hop dancing as well as doing an Art and Design workshop. The girls were also able to attend a leadership seminar led by Floyd Woodrow of the Compass for Life organisation. On the football field they demonstrated exceptional ability and their well-drilled and highly-skilled performance, resulted in a terrific match, and a convincing win. OSCAR 5: Malvern College 1.
“Our pupils were committed to hosting this team of girls in the best way we could to give them a good educational experience and some lasting memories!”, said Joe Gauci, i/c Girls’ Football at Malvern. “Their stories caught everyone’s imagination and we all wanted to help them as much as we could by continuing to support the charity beyond their visit to us”.
Many of our staff and pupils contributed to making the OSCAR girls welcome and joining them in their activity programme; in particular, our co-ordinating committee of Beatriz Cunningham, Ariana Davison, Millie Cox, Jasmine Jain, Amber Anderson and Kiki Asein played a key role in helping make the girls’ visit such a success and in encouraging fund-raising for the charity. Through a variety of fund-raising activities, and, through the generosity of the Sixth Form Council, the money we raised as a school, including the added value of a donation-match scheme, totalled a magnificent £10,647. Further testament to the impact that the OSCAR girls had on the College community is that three of our current pupils, Hattie Sibthorpe, Lottie Bullie and Beatriz Cunningham, in addition to one OM, Kitty Wright, have volunteered to act as OSCAR ambassadors.
As part of their work for the OSCAR Foundation, this term Lottie and Hattie have been collecting football boots, shin-pads, trainers, footballs and second-hand phones and laptops. So, Malvern College looks forward to developing a long-term relationship with the OSCAR Foundation.