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She Can Tri: racing for equality and changing girls’ lives through sport

Achieving a true empowering for women is sometimes difficult, but some activities can be impactful tools for emancipation. One of those is sport: it helps women gain skills and achieve goals. It makes them believe in themselves and obtain great results, showing the vastity of their abilities. The power of sport is well known by the US organization She can Tri and by their creator Jackie Faye. What the organization does since 2018, is to involve girls from poverty backgrounds and from different countries, into sport activities.

Racing for equality

She can Tri is a word game between the verb “Try” and the first letters of the main sport: Triathlon. By being part of a team, some girls try – and achieve – results that are thought impossible and they can succeed in tough sports. By playing and being a team, the girls are able to shift mindsets and improve equality level. This main objective involves projects in Afghanistan and Kenya, but supporters more abroad: from Spain to the United States, all the way along South Africa and Arab Emirates. She Can Tri gives long-term support to future athletes – and leaders.

The founder Jackie Faye, she herself an athlete, declared: “The finish line for these women is not just about proving something to themselves. They are proving to their country that women can accomplish amazing things when they put their mind to it. They are showing men and women as equals on and off the playing field.”

What inequality is

Life for a woman is always hard, but in most countries it is harder due to major inequalities, lack of access to education, lower or no salary. And of course no opportunities to grow their own talents and dreams, or to fulfill aspirations. 

Sport is also another sector where inequalities are strong and rooted: women have little or no access to it, especially at professional levels. And when they have, it is always thought they are a little lower than a man’s skills: so they need to prove they can reach the highest goals and impossible targets. In conflict zones, due to poverty and violence, access to sport is especially neglected to women. She Can Tri wants to reverse this trend and give more and more girls the opportunity to train, gain, win. And to become inspiration for other girls.

Empowering women’s lives through sport projects

The organization trains girls to let them become athletes, one country at the time. So far they have worked in Afghanistan and now they have just started with African countries like Kenya. Most of the times, girls are not able to ride a bike or swim: the staff helps them with the trainings and in 1 year period they become able to compete in races.

A brand new team in Kibera

She Can Tri just started a new team in Kibera, Kenya. This area is one of the most impoverished ones. In 2023 She Can Tri recruited four women to take part in the 2024 edition of IRONMAN 70.3 in Rwanda. The race has cash prices that the girls want to invest in education.

The team includes Carol, 21, an aspiring graphic artist; Sylvia, 19, who is also a mom and wants to show that women can do anything and accomplish their goals, even with kids; Lenon, 21, with different talents. She said she wants to participate in the race “to show the world what women from the slums are capable of!”. And then there is Vivian, 21. She works as mentor for other girls, preparing them to survive the slums – and sexual violence. She says that sports are fun and she is gradually learning. And she adds: “I always imagine a victorious future since my teammates are faring well. We are looking forward to the competition.”

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