Shoes for ‘Women Fighters’

This email is from my friend Leigh Ann, who has been working for the CDC and conducting her dissertation research in Zanzibar over the last year. If you have shoes you’d like to donate, contact me (coldspaghetti (at) gmail (dot) com) and I’ll pass on Leigh Ann’s information.

UPDATE: If you’ve got any soccer cleats, these would be like solid gold. THANKS!

Greetings Friends,

In every country where I work, I pick one local cause to support. I wait for an on the ground sort of outfit that you wouldn’t know about unless you were there to find me. One always does.

In Zanzibar, my cause is the women’s soccer team ‘Women Fighters.’
I first heard about them from one of my Researchers who is a founding member of the team. Then they were featured at the Zanzibar International Film Festival in a film called “Zanzibar Soccer Queens”.

After I saw the film, I was hooked! These women are infectious with their love of the game despite the social and cultural barriers to women being athletes in even a fairly progressive Muslim context. They face all the protests and admonitions you’d expect from everyone including husbands, brothers, religious leaders, etc. And yet the Women Fighters play on.

Once I watched the film, I asked my Researcher to introduce me to the team.
I’ve since practiced with them which involves simultaneously embarrassing myself and laughing loudly and often. I’ve also helped out the team a bit by getting equipment to them. In November when my family came out, they divided up 60 pounds of gear donated from my friends at Wake Forest University and carried it out. It was like kids at Christmas to see the team open the bags of gear!

Now as I’m getting read to visit Zanzibar again, I’m writing to ask you if have any running/athletic or soccer shoes in women’s sizes which you could donate. These shoes can be worn. When I’ve practiced with the team, they have fewer pairs of shoes than players. When a player subs-in, she switches shoes with a player who’s leaving the field. Shoes are the one thing the team asked me bring when I visit them next.

If you have shoes, please get in touch with me via email or phone. I leave for Zanzibar on May 6th so I will need to collect shoes this week. I’m hoping to get a dozen or so pair of shoes. I’m traveling on my own this trip so I won’t be able to share luggage weight rations with other travelers.

Asante sana~ (thanks in Swahili)

This link is to a website about the film.
Warda is one of my favorite characters from the film & on the field. This girl’s got game! She shows up for practice dressed like the shot on the left. Then she strips down to shorts & a t-shirt to run around.

WARDA KHALID, 20, [Midfield] gets support from her mother who
clearly sees a connection between sports and women’s development.
WARDA is determined to gain employment before getting married, as
this will prevent her future husband from oppressing her. She hopes to
gain employment through playing football and also aspires to play
abroad. “My aspiration is to become a good footballer. I would also like
to visit other countries. I don’t want just to be stuck here in Maissara.”