For centuries, one societal issue has tormented the girls of Sri Lanka. When a girl reaches puberty or becomes a ‘BIG GIRL’ in Sri Lankan slang, society demands they behave by a certain set of rules and imposes many restrictions on them.
Girls are warned not to associate with men who are not from their family, that it is not a girl’s place to play sports, that any wounds or scratches are not seemly, and even that it is not good for girls to ride a bicycle. With all these barriers, and many more, faced by girls around the country, it is no surprise that most simply give up on sports.
This is the message Chamari Athapaththu, who is the captain of the National Women’s cricket team and Red Bull athlete, wants to bring out to break stereotypical thinking. She wants to inspire the strength/power young girls have and to challenge conservative thinking that prevails in our society about women and their lives through her powerful BIG GIRLS CAN movement.
Girls are warned not to associate with men who are not from their family, that it is not a girl’s place to play sports, that any wounds or scratches are not seemly, and even that it is not good for girls to ride a bicycle
She truly believes in breaking stereotypical thinking and looks to inspire millions of girls around the world who want to follow their dreams and especially pursue a career in sports. In fact, she certainly does show and epitomize the fact that #BIGGIRLSCAN!
Athapaththu hails from Kurunegala, a region, like most others, is one where these societal pressures and barriers are especially prevalent. However, her parents recognized both her dream and her talent and gave her the chance and the encouragement she needed to become a world-renowned name in cricket. The ultimate goal is to gather inspiring characters, opinion leaders and parents to support this movement and build awareness to guide the young girls to move forward continuously and drive them to become world champions.
BIG GIRLS indeed CAN!