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How cricket is changing and saving the lives of women in Vanuatu

women cricket vanuatu

On this lost archipelago several hundred kilometers east of Australia, football is considered to be the most popular sport. However, there are more cricketers than football players, and the national teams have already participated in the world championship, unlike the Vanuatu footballers. The Vanuatu women’s cricket team is still ranked 28th in the world rankings, while France is in 30th place, so cricket can be considered the national sport of Vanuatu.

But more than a national pride, cricket allows women on the island to break down the walls erected by tradition and to emancipate themselves through sport, says BBC Sport.

“I’ve heard some people say ‘mums, their place is in the kitchen, they clean the house, they take care of the children’, but no, that’s not true,” said Rachel Andrew, cricketer.

Created in 2012 and funded by the Australian government, the women’s cricket program aims to promote the inclusion of women in sport and the fight against non-communicable diseases, such as diabetes which affects between 10% and 15% of the population, all about cricket. For 20 weeks, participants are made aware of health issues, but also of domestic violence and women’s rights.

In 2011, physical and sexual violence in a relationship affected 6 out of 10 Vanuatu women and half suffered it in the family setting. During the discussions that the women have during the seminars, the husbands are sometimes invited to participate in order to become aware of the stakes of the problem. The national cricket association also plans to organize these seminars in schools to raise awareness among the youngest.

Sports and culinary workshops are organized to teach these women how to eat better in a country where junk food has taken precedence over healthy products because they are cheaper.

“The majority of mothers never go to a clinic to be checked. […] For some of them, we discovered that the blood pressure was really high, the blood sugar too. We helped them go to clinics to get medicine. They are healthier, they have lost weight, they are able to do certain things that they could not do,” explains Amelia Lawac, program manager.

And above all, we play cricket. Note that the cricket that is played in Vanuatu differs in its more traditional equipment: banyan wood bats and balls made with the sap of the same tree. Many husbands also come to encourage their wives. The women’s cricket program is a success as it has improved the health of women on the island and allowed the youngest participants to play in the national team.

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Written by Line Guru

Hi, I'm Line Guru. A True Cricket Fan. I am obsessed with Writing & sharing Cricket News Updates here. I mostly post about Test, ODI & T20I, and League Matches.

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