Empowering women athletes: Odisha introduces ‘Her Sport Ki Champion’ initiative

Bhubaneswar: Sports & Youth Services department in association with ‘Aspire for Her’ today unveiled an initiative ‘Her Sport Ki Champion’ dedicated to empowering and supporting women in sports after their athletic careers.

Present on the occasion are Sports Minister Tusharkanti Behera, Sports Secretary Vineel Krishna, and Sports Director Siddhartha Das along with the Lead of Special Project of ‘Aspire for Her’ Rica Roy and Founder and CEO Madhura Dasgupta Sinha.

The ceremony also hosted notable speakers, including actor and president of the Indian Rugby Football Union Rahul Bose to share insights on empowering women in sports beyond their playing careers.

‘Her Sport Ki Champion’ by ‘Aspire for Her’, is a programme designed to provide financial freedom and holistic support to women athletes transitioning from sports to their post-athletic careers.

Recognising the challenges faced by female athletes in their professional journey, this initiative focuses on the 3E track: Education, Employment, and Entrepreneurship.

On the occasion, Sports Minister Behera said, “Odisha made the first move of adopting ‘Her Sport Ki Champion’. We are very proud to say that our approach towards an inclusive sporting ecosystem will have a widespread impact. We are serious about not just the present, but the future as well. Hence, we are preparing them not just to win today but giving them the power of Her Sport Ki Champion to win tomorrow as well.”

“As we grow the sports ecosystem in Odisha and compete with the world, one of the needs is to think about the livelihoods of those who get left behind. Not everyone gets to compete at the top level, but everyone deserves to have a good life beyond sports. We thank Aspire for Her’s efforts in supporting the sportswomen of Odisha to have a good life beyond Sports by skilling them and helping them find jobs. I hope that this grows into a movement,” the Sports Minister added.

The Sports Minister with Sports Secretary and Rahul Bose felicitated three girls during the ceremony. Urbasi Malik, Puja Behera, and Ranjita Pingua were the success stories of the first cohort. The three girls have been offered internships.

Rica Roy remarked, “HER Sport Ki Champion gives every sportswoman the power to pursue Sports for a few more years without thinking of what would happen when the dream ends. Here is a golden opportunity waiting for them at the end, the chance for a second inning. We give each girl the option of choosing from 5 different jobs.”

The key features of the programme are woven around four pillars Financial Empowerment, Career Opportunities, Mentorship Programs, and Entrepreneurial Opportunities.

Financial empowerment includes offering financial support for education, skill development, and career transition. Career opportunities and mentorship programs will help women in sports find opportunities beyond sports while connecting them with mentors in various fields for guidance and support. The program also seeks to facilitate resources for women athletes to explore entrepreneurship and create sustainable ventures.

Aspire for Her is a gender diversity movement that uses the power of communities to enable women to enter, persevere, and thrive in the workforce. Their vision is to enable over 1 million women to be a part of the economy and add $5 billion to India’s GDP through increased participation of women by 2025.

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