Ashoka Arab World and Nike celebrated International Women’s Day this year by organizing a ‘ Sportsday for Gender Empowerment’. The celebration seeked to showcase an exemplary collaboration between the Citizen Sector and the Business Sector using an innovative approach yet simple tools.
The venue where the event took place, El Gezira Youth Center, traditionally designated for young men, was selected with purpose. It is one of the many youth centers in Egypt where girls seldom play sports without restrictions, which was why we held our event here, in order to reclaim women’s right to Youth Centers. We also invited renowned athletes to act as role models for the girls and women, and a number of Ashoka friends to celebrate the success of the program. Boys and men were there to share the same field with female players, trainers and athletes. The event brought together 250 guests.
Ashoka fellows who have benefited from the Sports for Gender Empowerment Initiative in Egypt participated in the Sports Day. Among them were Magdy Aziz, Maha Helali, Reda Shoukry, Magda Iskandar and Seham Ibrahim. Ashoka Fellowship candidates Azza Kamel and Balsam & Lulwa Al-Ayoub also attended the Sports Day to get acquainted with the Initiative .
In addition to Nike, Samia Allouba, icon of health and fitness in Egypt and owner of the leading Egyptian chain of Gym, Dance and Fitness Centers was one of the Sports’ Day’s key contributors. Samia first introduced the fitness culture to many Egyptian women through television in the late 80s, and later to young girls through her Gym classes.
The day was a smashing succes, with kids having come by bus from far outside the city to take part in the activities. All attendees, kids and adults, girls and boys, Ashoka staff members and guests, thoroughly enjoyed the various sports activities that were organized on this sunny Saturday. Activities included yoga, aerobics, girls’ soccer, and some sizzling breakdancing moves, as you can see for yourself in the following video-clip.
We’d like to thank all our sponsors, contributors, and attendees for helping us realize this event to promote girls’ participation in sports. In Samia Allouba’s words: Girls, ” You can do it!”