Alumni Spotlight: Jeremy Johnson in India
In 2011, alum Jeremy Johnson (Class of 2006) accepted an internship offer to do public relations work for a non-governmental organization named Yuwa. Yuwa is based in Jharkhand, India, where Jeremy is now living. His responsibilities consist mainly of public relations and internal communications, but helps out when needed in other aspects of the organization.
By using soccer as a platform for social development, Yuwa helps young women gain confidence to make a change in their world. In Jharkhand, little value is put on the lives of young women. They are only seen as valuable when doing work around the house. Roughly 60 percent of women are illiterate, and the state leads the country in child marriages (Many girls are married by the age of 15). The state of Jharkhand is also estimated to be the top source of human trafficking in the world, with nearly 30,000 girls taken each year.
When girls are taken out of isolation and join a Yuwa soccer team, they begin to see themselves in a whole new light. Many are practicing an average of 23 days a month for three hours a day, which has resulted in a few of the girls being scouted to play nationally. Off of the field, the girls encourage each other to keep a strong attendance in school in order to receive opportunities that they would not have had before.
“I have an incredibly high level of respect for these girls,” says Jeremy. “The dedication and drive that they have to better their lives is something that I’ve never seen before in kids. It’s awesome to watch and see them succeed.”
To learn more about Yuwa, visit http://www.yuwa-india.org/ . To hear more about Jeremy’s experience in India, you can find his blog at http://www.midwestnomad.wordpress.com/
An adventure on the other side of the world Farmington Independent | April 28, 2011