Film-maker, writer, actor, comedian and CEO of EntreprenHER Natalie Cutler premiered her latest documentary Married To The Game in Wolverhampton last week.
Travelling to Jharkand in India, a place where it is incredibly dangerous to be a woman, Natalie and her partner Danny Batth explored the way Yuwa Academy are saving young girls from an unfair life through football. Natalie follows Wolverhampton Wanderers captain Danny as he meets the co-founders of the organisation Franz and Rose, and the young girls currently involved in the academy.
Girls as young as 12 are being forced into arranged marriage, with domestic violence being a huge threat for these young women. After setting up Foundation DB, both Natalie and Danny are dedicated to raising money for important causes happening both locally in the West Midlands, and across the world. YUWA are one of the charities they support, after seeing their tremendous work on their travels in India.
The Yuwa website states;
“Yuwa means “youth” in Hindi and we work with families in rural Jharkhand, India—a place where girls are at risk of child marriage and human trafficking. It is a program that uses team sports and education to build character, confidence, and courage. It is a place where girls who don’t yet know their worth can meet to compete, achieve goals, and create brighter futures. Yuwa prepares girls to break the cycle of poverty—permanently.”
The film introduces us to the Yuwa’s creators as they talk passionately about their project. Still relatively new, the impact it has made on these girls’ lives is truly remarkable. 5 out of 10 girls in Jharkhand drop out of school to become child brides and female literacy is just 55%, but Yuwa is tackling this with their education in both academics and football.
Natalie, who created, directed and produced the documentary is no stranger to film-making after her success with her previous documentary Not In Vain which told the stories of women in India who were victims of acid attacks.
Natalie explained at the screening how the local village are against the girls attending the academy, doing everything they can to stop them going and spreading vicious rumours about the two owners. However, the work that is being done is giving the girls confidence and life skills that will propel them into a happy and successful life.
It’s a powerful documentary that not only captures the importance of the cause, but it highlights the real effect Yuwa has on these young girls. They speak with so much confidence as they fight for their rights, understanding that it is unfair the way they are being treated in their village. It’s inspirational to see these young girls under such tough circumstances carving a real life for themselves with the incredible support from Yuwa.
YUWA are currently fundraising for a new building allowing the children to stay at the academy overnight, giving them more of a chance as they get to escape their treacherous surroundings.
Watch the documentary online here to find out more about Yuwa and the work they’re doing.