Dooars: The sixth edition of Real Heroes is celebrating ordinary women performing extraordinary service. Real Hero Bhawani Munda and her football team are girls who persevere despite no equipment and zero encouragement.
Running against all odds, this ragtag women's football team from Dooars in North Bengal has been slowly but surely making its mark. Bringing the girls together is Bhawani Munda. Almost single-handedly, as a seven-year-old, she formed the team in 1993. But putting together a girl's team from the tea garden labour quarters wasn't easy.
"We had to go from door to door for permission. Will you allow your girl to play football? The parents would express fear. Will they get married, if they wore shorts and played football? We struggled a lot for this," Munda said.
With at least ten other women's teams in this region, what sets apart Dooars XI is the platform of hope it provides for the girls and their victories. It has also led to Shakuntala Oraon's journey to the Bengal Under-19 team.
"Feels wonderful. I was ill but I took medicines and played. I've always wanted to play football. I would even play with oranges," Oraon said.
The team has no coach, one set of jersey and two footballs. And yet, for these Dooars dynamites football equals life.