Sex workers’ kids dream of football league entry
Yakub Ali is 16 but has met his mother a handful of times in the last five years. The son of a sex worker in Kolkata’s Sonagachi area, Yakub has spent the past half a decade honing his skills as a footballer.
He says he knows his mother is going through hell to give him a life. “We hope one day our lives will change if I can achieve my goal. Football, I hope, will one day give me recognition,” Yakub says.
The teenager and his friends — all children of Sonagachi sex workers — are aiming to make history by becoming the firstof-its-kind team to compete in a national Under-15 youth league.
The young players make do with second-hand boots and meagre meals but are buoyed by the enthusiasm of their mothers, who often come see them play at local tournaments. Players prepare for a match at the Durbar sports academy in Rahul Viddya Niketan, a home for sex workers’ kids.