Parcham Collective, an organisation that facilitates football practice sessions for adolescent girls in Mumbra, Thane, organised a wall painting event in the area on October 2nd in the Fatima Bi Savitri Bai sports ground for girls, as an inauguration of the ground that the girls will now use for training officially. “The ground was reserved for the girls by the Thane municipal corporation, and the opposition party arranged for appropriate landscaping of the ground, a first by local authorities and the opposition.” said Sabah Khan, co-founder of Parcham. The name of the ground was an ode to Fatima Shaikh and Savitri Bai Phule, who, together pioneered education for girls in Maharashtra, despite the differences in religious backgrounds. “The day of the event, Gandhi Jayanti, was intentional, as the values of the organisation aligned with Gandhi’s principles of peace, harmony and valuing the constitution” said Sabah.
Parcham is currently training close to a hundred girls in football, and organising events and competitions for them. It was initially started to bring together young Muslim girls from informal settlements and bolster their confidence towards financial independence. By bringing girls from Hindu and Muslim backgrounds to the same ground, Parcham hopes to involve them in healthy play and combat communal tensions in society.
Many artists, including cartoonist Uttam Ghosh and visual artists Siraj Sheikh and Vinit Lawande, contributed to the wall paintings. The girls were included in the ideation and painting process. Jogitha Jemma Kanapally, who is the founder of Science Didi, an educational platform, also participated. Local corporators including Nationalist Congress Party leader of Thane Municipal corporation, Shanu Pathan and MLA Jitendra Awadh were present at the event and contributed their time.