Shimshal village, laced with incredible natural beauty, is a small village located in the Gojal Tehsil of the Hunza District. It is in fact a border village that connects Gilgit Baltistan with China. While, the village does not have adequate access to cellular signals or electricity, the levels of courage and determination are at an all time high.

One such example of this courage and determination is Karishma Inayat who, at the tender age of 19, recently organized an all-women football tournament in her village.

Karishman Inayat’s family belongs to Shimshal. However, Karishma herself has lived in Lahore most of her life for her education.
“I never thought of taking up Football but my father was super enthusiastic about it. I started learning and playing football when I was 14.

Since there aren’t a lot of Football clubs in Lahore and the ones that are there are very costly, we formulated our own football club called Eagle. Two of my sisters play football too and together we went to the Dubai Jubilee games in July 2016 to represent Pakistan,” told Karishma while talking to MangoBaaz.

While listing out problems of her native village, Karishma came up with the idea of a football club to allow girls of her region, an outlet.

“Once, we all sat down to enlist the problems that the inhabitants of the Shimshal village have to face. Parents here are generally very supportive of their daughters but owing to poverty, most of them get their daughters married off at an early age because they cannot provide for their education. We needed to come up with a plan to counter that and that’s when we perceived the idea of introducing sports in the village because we all know how good athletes can get in good universities based on their athletic capabilities. We eventually perceived the idea of Al-Shams Women Football Club,” continues Karishma.

Karishma along with 5 other of her family members laid the foundation of the football club. The recent women’s football tournament was one of the club’s projects.

The management of the football club includes Karishma herself, her sisters Sumaira Inayat, Ambreen Shah and three other family members – Munawar, Azeem and Saeed. All of them lie in the 15 to 19 years age bracket. According to Karishma, there are now opportunities available for women as far as climbing is concerned because of Samina Baig but before the Football club there was no other sports outlet as such in the village.

Karishma and her team organized the tournament last year as well but this year, it was much bigger and better and they were able to secure some sponsorship too.

“We advertised the tournament and 96 women showed up on the first day of the training alone. I feel like generally the mentality regarding women playing sports has taken a paradigm shift in the village and we hope to keep it the same way,” tells Karishma.

August 3, 2019

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