‘Damini’ To Prevent School Dropouts


Kolkata: Shashi Panja, Minister of State for Women and Child Development and Social Welfare, launched Damini — a project of the Kolkata Police and Shreeja India on Saturday, as part of its community policing where girls will be given coaching in football to build their self-confidence and bring them to mainstream.

“The task is more challenging as football is a game with which we usually do not associate women. But the name “Damini” itself has a significance. It means “spark” and we are hopeful of its success. Project Sukanya rolled out by the Kolkata Police for offering
self-defence training to women has been extremely successful,” Panja said.

“Project Damini” is aimed to make girls aware of the curse of social evils like child marriage, human trafficking and domestic violence that those from the lesser privileged sections of society are subjected to. This is an effort to empower them to overcome such offences on their own. “We have plans to provide this soccer training at five places of which Park Circus Maidan has already been given to us by the Kolkata Municipal Corporation,” said Sujoy Chanda, Joint Commissioner (Establishment), Kolkata Police.

Girls between the age group of 10 and 16 years will be identified and subjected to football coaching in this project.

It may be mentioned that “Goalz” is a project of the city police where boys are given coaching in football and matches are regularly held as part of community policing.

The training will be provided by Shreeja India, an NGO set up by Shiv Shankar Dasgupta, an alumnus of Jadavpur University now settled in the US. It has been giving football coaching to tribal girls in a cluster of eight villages in Birbhum for the past one year. The coaching has yielded good results as the girls have developed self-confidence.