PAKISTAN: Girls play in first badminton tournament
Salesian missionaries organize first-ever badminton tournament for 20 girls
(MissionNewswire) Salesian missionaries in Quetta, Pakistan, collaborated with the Sisters of the Good Shepherd to organize a badminton tournament for girls. The first-ever sporting event for girls, called “Mamma Margherita Badminton Tournament,” featured 20 participants from five different ethnic groups and four different religions.
The Salesian center in Quetta provided the girls with a safe space to practice and show off their talents. Despite the pandemic, Salesian missionaries have been able to keep their doors open to youth to provide a meeting place to connect with their peers and stay engaged in sports activities including badminton, soccer and cricket.
“Sports programs teach youth both on and off the field,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. “Learning and playing team sports encourages leadership skills as well as teaches youth to work as part of a team. Students also learn important social skills and have opportunities for growth and maturity.”
Salesian missionaries have been working in Lahore and Quetta for the last 21 years. In Lahore, Salesians have a technical institute, elementary school, boarding school for children, workshops for girls and a youth center open on Saturdays. In Quetta, there is a school and two boarding schools, one for boys and one for girls.
“In the Lahore boarding school, the Salesians serve more than 130 youth,” said Father Gabriel Cruz, a Salesian missionary in Pakistan. “We offer them shelter, food, education and religious formation. Most of the youth are Catholics, but we also have young students of other Christian backgrounds. The school and technical institute is attended by more than 200 students, including some Muslims.”
According to the World Bank 31.3 percent of people living in Pakistan fall below the poverty line. It is anticipated that at the end of 2020, 87 million people, up from 69 million, will be living in conditions of poverty.
Gender also plays a role in poverty in the country. Pakistan has traditional gender roles that define a woman’s place in the home and not the workplace. As a result, access to education is challenging for girls and society investments are less. There are few opportunities for women and girls in the country outside of traditional roles. This is evidenced by the disparities in education including the literacy rate. Female literacy in Pakistan is 71.8 percent compared to male literacy at 82.5 percent.
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World Bank – Pakistan