30 June 2019

 

Travelling abroad for the very first time, Dream a Dream’s Parimala Honnappa wants to use Festival 19 as an opportunity to learn as much as she can in her pursuit to kick through barriers for girls in India. Check out the first in the series of our Festival 19 pitch-side interviews.

 

To what extent would you consider your community equal in terms of gender?

 

Nowadays, it would be difficult to consider that my community is equal. A lot of girls have a very traditional background, where their families continue to put boundaries for the girls. For example, playing football is often not accepted for girls. And that is part of why I am coming here: to learn and to change my community to be a more equal place . 

 

How can you make your community a more equal place for girls?

 

What can change my community? I can encourage girls to live their lives in a more autonomous, independent way, from the stand-point of taking decisions. They need to be able to value and to decide what is right and what is wrong in their lives. This means, for example, that if any challenges arise, they need to learn how to confront them. My intention when I come back to my community is to support young girls towards these goals. 

 

Playing football, travelling the world and encouraging other girls to follow their dreams. What has been the reaction of your family and your community?

 

My family didn’t support me in playing football at the beginning. As a girl, I’ve faced many restrictions. But thanks to what I learnt at Dream a Dream and through playing football, I was capable of convincing them and they are already starting to support me now. But it goes beyond my family; people in my community need to change. There are still not supporting girls enough and my intention is to spread the word and change this mindset. 

 

As a young leader, you are also an important part of the team for the success of the festival. Could you tell us something you take pride in that you could bring to Festival 19 and share with others?

 

There are a lot of things the organising team of the festival needs to consider. I think something that it is very important for me and that I could bring to Festival 19 is the idea of giving equal preference and equal opportunities to everyone. In addition I think the topic of punctuality is important and the idea of caring about everyone’s well-being. 

 

What are you most looking forward to at Festival 19?

 

This is my first international trip and I have already realised that so many things are happening. I need to set up my mind to learn a lot of new things and, at the same time, I need to be open and ready to make new friendships. I need to learn from everybody and make the best of it, grab everyone’s knowledge and use it when I go back to my community to change it for good. 

 

What is your message for younger girls from your community and across the world?

 

Girls have to live their lives in a better way, without boundaries. They need to think about how to achieve their goals. Girls need to become more bold, more confident!

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