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In Dhaka, a whopping 3.4 million people live in slums, 1.1 million being children. Living in suboptimal conditions deprived of even the basic facilities such as water and sanitation, these children are exposed to crime, deprived of education and forced to make a living at a tender age. Isolated from the mainstream society, these children are the most vulnerable inhabitants of this city. Their childhood and adolescence is spent in the dark lanes and corners, which push them towards an even darker future. Crossing the invisible line that separates the slums from the rest of this city is merely a dream to them – a dream to integrate and grow with dignity.

The Dhaka Hub of Global Shapers is committed to make Dhaka a socially inclusive city. And with that aim in November 2015 we launched our flagship project “Taal-Goal” – a football tournament for slum children - to use sports as a tool to reduce crime and drug abuse among the most underprivileged children of this city, and to provide them a platform to enjoy childhood.

The tournament featured 16 teams and 128 children, both boys and girls between the ages of 10 to 14, from Geneva Camp, Rayerbazar, Abdullahpur, Notunbazar, Karail and Kamrangirchar areas. Through the tournament, the hub aimed to promote an inclusive society where no child is denied basic right to recreation such as sports, regardless of their background or social status.

This tournament is essentially the first step towards change for many of these underprivileged children. We hope the change will come in two ways. First, this event marked the beginning of a long-term engagement of the Dhaka Hub with these slum communities. We will organize follow up activities to equip these children with basic life skills and civic awareness so that they can be more responsible citizens, regardless of their background. Secondly, we hope that at least a few out of this whole batch of children who showed real potential and passion to become professional footballers will be able to realize their dreams. To that end we tagged along Bangladesh Football Federation to scout such talents and guide them through.

TaalGoal in brief:
  • Date: November 6, 2015
  • Venue: National Handball Stadium, Gulistan, Dhaka
  • Slums Represented: Kamrangir Char, Abdullahpur, Tellegur, Korail, and Geneva Camp
  • Age Range: Children aged between 13-16
  • Team Size: 5 a side; 8 players squad
  • Tournament Type: Knockout
  • Scouting Partners: Bangladesh Football Federation 5