In preparation for the Respect Pride Tournament, a vibrant call for players was issued across social media platforms. This call aimed to assemble a diverse team to represent the project’s values of inclusion and respect in the tournament.

The Multicultural Women’s Football Tournament, organised by Organisation Earth, was a celebration of diversity and women’s empowerment. Female refugees from various backgrounds came together on a private football pitch, not only showcasing their skills but breaking stereotypes surrounding women in football.

The tournament was not just about competition but also about building confidence and fostering mutual respect among participants.

Founded by Khalida Popal in 2014, Girl Power is an inspiring initiative that aims to use sport as a tool for empowerment and integration of refugee women. Popal, a former captain of the Afghan women’s national football team, established Girl Power with a vision to overcome the barriers that ethnic minority and refugee women face, such as language barriers, cultural differences, and restrictive social norms.

Girl Power’s holistic approach focuses on creating inclusive spaces where refugee women can find empowerment and a sense of community. One of the key initiatives, the Girl Power Leadership Academy, has been instrumental in this mission. This program offers refugees, asylum seekers, and vulnerable communities opportunities for personal growth and development. The recent cohort of 30 young women acquired valuable local leadership skills and enhanced their mental health awareness, providing them with the tools to thrive in their new environments.

Participants in the program leave with newfound skills and confidence, ready to return to their communities as agents of change. With the support of Girl Power mentors, these women implement their own sports projects, fostering a ripple effect of empowerment and integration.

Events like the Youth Conference in Yorkshire, England, highlight the transformative power of Girl Power’s initiatives. At this conference, participants shared their personal journeys, redefining narratives, and challenging the stereotypes surrounding refugees and asylum seekers. Through these stories, Girl Power not only uplifts individuals but also fosters a broader understanding and acceptance within the wider community.

Girl Power continues to inspire and empower refugee women, using the universal language of sport to break down barriers and build stronger, more inclusive communities.


For a decade, PlayOnside has been harnessing the power of sports to transform the lives of vulnerable Burmese migrant children on the Thailand border. The organization’s efforts have gained widespread recognition, including a recent nomination for the FIFA Diversity Award.

Traditionally, Burmese girls have been confined to household chores, but PlayOnside recognized the need for equal opportunities in sports. What began as a simple tournament has evolved into a structured initiative aimed at educating and empowering displaced Burmese migrants and refugees through football.

Initially, the participation of girls was low, hindered by parental concerns and societal biases. However, through persistent community engagement, PlayOnside has broken down these barriers, leading to a significant increase in girls’ involvement.

PlayOnside provides girls with access to tailored programs, such as the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights (SRHR) initiative, addressing social issues like gender-based violence and early marriage. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the organization adapted by offering emotional resilience programs and leadership opportunities for young people.

Through these efforts, PlayOnside continues to empower Burmese migrant children, creating lasting positive change and fostering a sense of community and hope.

Source: Soccer is Empowering Burmese Migrant Girls on the Thai Border – The Diplomat

Monaliiku posted an update on the project’s progress. This comprehensive update served as a testament to the project’s commitment to transparency and community engagement, offering readers insights into the project’s journey and inviting them to be an active part of INSPIRES

Read more