Ananya Kamboj is just 15 years old, but her achievements surpass her youth. The student of Class XI is a writer, goodwill ambassador for BRICS countries, and has been invited to speak at the United Nations’ ECOSOC Youth Forum this September.
She tells BK that she has also participated in many other empowerment projects such as Girl Up, Girls with Impact, Lean in India, SDG for Children, SDG Chaupal, World Literacy Foundation and She’s Mercedes.
The Chandigarh teenager credits the Football for Friendship Program for her achievements. In 2017, when India hosted the U-17 Men’s Football World Cup, Ananya launched an AIFF (All India Football Federation) program, promoted by the Indian government, to popularize football in India. Mission XI million Participated in the writing competition.
Ananya wrote an article about how football promotes friendship and global relationships. His winning essay led him to the Football for Friendship (F4F) program in St. Petersburg, Russia. ‘Young journalist’ Chosen as.
F4F is an annual international children’s social event that brings children from more than 60 countries to instill respect for various cultures and nationalities through football. The program, implemented by the Gazprom company, is supported by organizations such as FIFA, UEFA, UN, Olympic and Paralympic Committees, governments and football associations of various countries.
Equality through sports
Through her participation in various programs and empowerment initiatives, Ananya has become a vocal advocate for gender equality and women empowerment.
A regular basketball and football player when she was younger, Ananya noticed how some sports instructors were promoting the notion that girls could not play sports.
When coaches used phrases like ‘You are a girl’, ‘You are playing like girls’, it was very bad. I felt we needed to bridge these differences between men and women, ”says Ananya, who teaches at Vivek High School in Chandigarh.
She credits the program for encouraging her to advocate for gender equality and quality education.
Ananya has now started helping girls and women understand their rights and overcome gender inequality. ‘Sports to lead’ Has started its program by name. The soon-to-be-launched initiative will use sports as a medium and include workshops and awareness sessions to fight discrimination and gender inequality. Ananya says that the program will be given fun by her father, who is also the inspiration of her writing.
Cricket enthusiasts are beginning to take over sports like football in the country with tournaments like the Indian Super League, a club based national league like the IPL. However, women’s sports, especially women’s football, still face challenges of lack of infrastructure, sexism, lack of contracts, low matches, low pay, lack of broadcast slots and lack of popularity.
To do all this, coronaviruses could give the final blow to the women’s game in the country. In its recent report, the football association FIFPro stated that with the particularly dire situation in India, the epidemic has caused women’s football to be a “Existential threat” is.
“It is very important to maintain gender equality in order to encourage women and get equal opportunities and rights,” Ananya said.
How was the journey?
Ananya says about her F4F experience,
“It was a very exciting experience. We came to know about various nationalities, cultures, languages and traditions. We were divided into teams and writing on the nine values promoted by the program, and filing daily reports about football matches.”
She says that being part of the program taught her to value journalistic ethics like writing authentic information and fact-checking.
Ananya states nine values like a hardworking student – friendship, equality, fairness, health, peace, devotion, victory, traditions and honor. He has written about her in his book, My Journey from Mohali to St. Petersburg.
The book is a compilation of 21 stories that reflect his journey in the F4F program, and the values that the game and the program taught him. She counts her book debut in Moscow during the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia as her most proud achievement.
Ananya has been a ‘young journalist’ for the program for the last three years and hopes to continue her passion for journalism. He even has a clear plan.
She wants to study journalism at the undergraduate level, and will then enroll in the FIFA Masters program – an international sports management course. She wants to write for organizations such as FIFA and the Olympics.
Ananya will participate in the United Nations ECOSOC Youth Forum in September 2020, which virtually speaks about football for the Friendship Program and the values promoted by the program.