Amna Rafiq – Leicestershire’s award-winning community development officer

So have you ever questioned a girl why she would prefer playing with a doll rather than a ball? They would answer it as the first toy that was placed in their hands by their parents. Now replace the toy with a bat or a ball, does this story exist? No. The society has shaped gender discrimination in a way that fits their mentality and acceptable to them as their best. This is the reason girls are made to play with delicate dolls that kindle within them the qualities of nurturing, being careful and being gentle that is what you’d want your sister, wife and daughter to be, isn’t it?

This is what the video by Amna Rafiq talks about, the clean technique that the society has been deploying within itself that restricts the younger generations to go beyond those wretched boundaries.

Amna Rafiq influenced by the lifestyle of Barnsley, a small town in Yorkshire where she was raised. She grew up with the craze for cricket at the early stage but playing cricket wasn’t the same as it was for her brother. Being the only girl in a boy’s cricket team she faced many hardships following the passion that blossomed within.

She has been a noted volunteer in many cricket tournaments and events in the town and has also been acknowledged with various awards. She has studied Sports Business Management in the university at Leeds and later completed her internship with Yorkshire Country Cricket Club as a Student marketing Ambassador.

“I was the only girl playing in a boys’ team,” Rafiq, Leicestershire’s award-winning community development officer, told BBC Sport.

“My dad took me everywhere and he found it difficult – a changing room full of 10 other boys, male coaches and me.

“I did used to get looked down upon, which worked in my favor because people would think ‘oh, she’s just going to bowl slowly, let’s try and whack her out.”

“One of the special works I did was in a Muslim high school in Leicester. We ran a six-week coaching program there to girls who had never played cricket in their lives. Now those girls absolutely love cricket,” she added.

You won’t see her on the field mostly because she is more active behind the scenes. She joined the profession as a community engagement officer in July 2015 and has been given the responsibility of engaging with all the communities through and without cricket in Leicester. Her successful works mainly consist of projects that target the younger generations to promote and increase active participation in cricket. Her main focus is to reduce the obstacles created by cultural divides, stereotypes and anonymous beliefs that limit the growth of female cricket.

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She talks about the cultural stereotype that acts as a divide between the missions towards recruiting girls into cricket. She feels no girl should be facing the problems that she once did during her childhood.

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