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Football player Naaz Parveen honoured at Oxfam 'Women In Film' brunch

Parveen was initially forbidden to play football by her community members and overcame the difficulty with the help of her parents and an NGO.

Keyur Seta

Oxfam 'Women In Film' brunch, a part of the ongoing Mumbai Film Festival, honoured young football player Naaz Parveen as a special guest. 

Hailing from Bihar, Parveen was initially not allowed to play football by the members of her community. However, Gaurav Gramin Mahila Vikas Manch (GGMVM), an NGO, helped her get into the sport. Today, she is the goalkeeper of the Ambedkar Football Club. 

Speaking exclusively to Cinestaan.com, Parveen expressed her happiness saying, “I am feeling great. It’s a proud feeling to reach all the way here from where I had started. I would like to thank GGMVM organization and my parents. It is the result of their struggle that I have reached here.”

Urging parents to let their daughters follow their dreams, she added, “I would like to urge people to not confine girls in home and inside ghoonghat [veil]. They should come out of the ghoonghat and see the world, after which you will understand yourself.” 

Parveen says her father stood by her from the start and her mother understood and supported her after a bit of persuasion: “My father used to support me more. Looking at this, my mother also started supporting me. I have aimed to do something in life. My teachers and members of the organization (GGMVM) made my mother understand.”

She also shared the inhibitions she herself had to overcome, for example, wearing the football uniform. “It was difficult to wear only certain kind of dresses. When I wore the football uniform for the first time, I was feeling weird. I wasn’t feeling good as I felt it showed a lot. I then saw people practice in the stadium for three days. I then started practising.” 

For Parveen, gender equality is not just limited to freedom for girls. “I feel just like how my parents supported me and got me here, other parents should also do the same. However, this doesn’t mean they should forget their sons. They should walk together with daughters and sons,” she added. 

Parveen’s achievement is not limited to being a football player. She, along with GGMVM, saved numerous girls by inspiring them to chase their dreams. “I am glad that I could inspire other girls in my community to follow their dreams and learn football. The sport brought us together. As a team, we stood against child marriage and saved many girls from being married at a young age,” a proud Parveen said.

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