"Dream Big Desi Women transformed my life"
More than 2,000 South Asian women have taken up volunteer roles in cricket in under four years, thanks to an England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) initiative which is making the sport more inclusive.
Funded by Sport England, the Dream Big Desi Women programme set out to inspire 2,000 women from South Asian backgrounds to volunteer in cricket
The programme has hit its target ahead of schedule by delivering All Stars and Dynamos sessions – two ECB-backed schemes for children.
Each of the volunteers has been delivering sessions for children.
At least 10% have gone on to take up full-time roles in sport in local communities across the UK, with many taking up further qualifications in cricket coaching.
The Dream Big Desi Women programme dismantles barriers faced by South Asian women by taking cricket into non-traditional venues including mosques, temples and gurdwaras.
The programme also provides playing kit specially tailored to South Asian cultures, gives participants a chance to build networks in local communities, and has delivered mental health awareness training.
A special celebration of the programme will be held at Lord’s on September 24, 2022, as England Women take on India Women in a One-Day International.
Fans will be able to enjoy various activities including kitemaking, henna and South Asian food.
Dream Big Desi Women participant Harpreet Kalsi-Virdi said: “Dream Big Desi Women transformed my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
“I went from having no real experience of sport to coaching at three separate cricket clubs in Nottingham and running cricket sessions in a local school alongside my day job. My family have been nothing but supportive.
“I am proud to be a role model for my twin daughters and their friends.”
Shruti Saujani, the ECB’s Engagement Lead for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, who led the programme from its inception, added:
“The Dream Big Desi Women programme has been central to our South Asian Action Plan by creating more opportunities for the South Asian community to get involved in cricket at every level.
“It’s been amazing to see the enthusiasm and energy these volunteers have brought to cricket, and how in many cases it has changed their lives.
“The programme has also benefitted thousands of children in South Asian communities who can now get involved in cricket in ways that didn’t exist before.”