From A Farm To A Football Field – This Is Mamta’s Story Of Defying All Odds To Become A Google Woman Icon!

Published on April 15, 2022

Mamta’s Story

“My dream is to represent India on the international sports stage!”

Mamta Gujjar is a shining amazing example of how sport can change children’s lives. 

Mamta belongs to a small village in the Rajasthan and hails from the Gujjar community whose primary livelihood comes from farming and animal rearing.

A few years ago, Mamta was about to drop out of school to help her mother with household chores and support the family’s livelihood. At the tender age of 15, her parents began thinking of getting her married but she somehow persuaded them to let her at least complete her graduation.

That is when she became acquainted with the CRY project Mahila Janadhikar Samiti (MJAS) and their work on children’s rights in her village. Mamta decided to participate in the initial group sessions being conducted for adolescent girls and was encouraged to take up the sport as a part of MJAS’s life skills program.

She went on to form the MJAS girls' football team and won many accolades across multiple tournaments including the 'Sports for Change' tournament organized by HCL Foundation as well as the state level sports festival conducted by the Rajasthan Government.

But while her talent in football was earning her recognition, her father wasn’t thrilled with the idea of a girl taking up a male-dominated sport like football. Her community raised concerns about girls playing in shorts and her team was often harassed during practice sessions by those who wanted them to stop playing.

The girls were not deterred. They sought support from their mothers and, led by Mamta and her sister Sapna, continued honing their skills on the football field – determined to show their community that girls could not only play football but also bring pride to their community as sportswomen.

Their efforts and persistence bore fruit – the tournaments they won became a way to break gender stereotypes and their hard work earned them multiple scholarships to continue their education; Mamta herself passed the higher secondary examination with 1st division marks!

Being a part of MJAS’s adolescent girls' group, she also consistently raises awareness for ensuring that schools have enough teachers and quality education is accessible to all children; including girls.  

In 2022, inspired by her story, Google selected her as a Google Women Icon – a milestone that is a testament to everything she has done to change patriarchal norms and enable girls in her community to rise to their truest potential!  

As CRY, we dream of a day when more children like Mamta are able to shine bright and make the nation proud. You can help! Support CRY by making a donation and helping India’s daughters pave their way to a better future.