Trailblazing Indian woman footballer Bala Devi has joined a charity initiative to raise funds for child labourers who will be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 30-year-old striker has been roped in by the non-governmental organisation CRY (Child Rights and You) and proceeds from the initiative will go to help provide the children basic education and amenities.
“We have always been struggling with child labour…With the pandemic leading to loss of jobs, this will only rise making more children give up their dream of education or playing,” Devi told PTI from her base in Scotland.
“I truly believe every child should have the opportunity to fulfil their dreams and always get a chance at education – this is what has inspired me to take up this initiative. I do not have a real life incident but we know that child labour is prevalent around the country.”
Devi, who has played more than 50 international matches since 2005, is the the first Indian woman footballer to ply her trade in a top-flight professional league in Europe. She plays for Rangers in the Scottish Premier League.
The league is currently suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. She had featured in two matches before the suspension of the league.
She feels that celebrities working for social causes brings in more response from the society at large.
“…being a recognised face helps us to reach out to even more people. The more people joining hands will lead to better resources to help these children,” she said.
Devi said she did not think twice when the NGO approached her for the initiative.
“I was honoured that they thought of me this year to run the initiative for them. I did not have to think twice as this is a really good cause and making sure every child has an opportunity to live their dream,” said the player from Manipur.