MUMBAI: STAR Sports successfully completed a fund-raiser campaign that turned the dream of the immensely talented girls from YUWA into reality, as they participate in the coveted football tournament USA Cup, to be held in Minnesota from July 15 to July 19. The USA Cup is one of the largest youth tournaments in the world with more than 1000 teams participating.
YUWA, an NGO based in Jharkhand and led by an American national Mr. Franz Gastler, uses football as a platform to combat child marriage and human trafficking in India and instils confidence and skills in young women affected by such social evils. The girls from YUWA, with their incredible talent and unflinching dedication, have victoriously crossed over several hurdles, fighting multiple ills that plagued their lives, such as poverty, malnutrition and gender-discrimination. They have deeply inspired millions around the world with their achievements, as they made the headlines last year by bagging a Bronze medal in an international youth tournament, the Gasteiz Cup held in Spain.
The girls from YUWA never failed to persevere and relentlessly made countless efforts under the rigorous training from their mentors to participate in the globally prestigious football tournament, USA Cup. While the girls battled against all odds with their hard work and focus to reach greater heights, travelling to the United States for the tournament was the only obstacle in their way. STAR Sports, committed to spurt sports development in the country at the grassroots level, stepped in to support the girls to participate at the games. The network further went on to tell the deeply inspiring tale of the girls through a gripping TV campaign in the month of May to muster mass support, creating a cycle of attracting more funds. Corporate organizations and people across the length and breadth of the country happily came forward to help Team YUWA realize their dream journey to the US.
In addition to Star Sports funding the travel the campaign gathered funds from major corporations, such as market research firm Quantum, DTH service provider Tata Sky, electronic major Lenovo and people from all over the country through a web-based crowd-funding platform called Ketto.
Mr. Nitin Kukreja, President – Sports, STAR India, expressed his delight on this achievement, “We are extremely pleased to have led this initiative to a fruitful conclusion. The story of the YUWA girls touched our hearts and we wanted to make an honest effort to fulfil their dream of participating in the USA Cup. We, at STAR, truly believe that sports have the power to transform the lives of people and Team YUWA is a great example of it. I would also like to take this opportunity to wish the girls great success and hope that they have a good time out there.”
This initiative by STAR Sports comes in-line with the media conglomerate's promise of creating local heroes in the country and spawn a new sporting culture. As part of this commitment, STAR has also heavily invested in nurturing international and national leagues for various sports such as hockey, football and kabaddi.
Mr. Franz Gastler, Founder and Executive Director, YUWA said, “I'd like to say a huge Thank You to Star Sports from all of us at Yuwa for the work they have done. The campaign has been a huge success since its launch and I can't understate how much buzz has been created around Yuwa in this short amount of time. Our inbox has been flooded daily with messages of support. We’re truly proud to see the brand Star Sports on our jerseys”
Team YUWA will be India’s only representative in the USA Cup, which allows teams to participate under various age groups across 9 years and 19 years.