Ellie Roscher, author of Play Like a Girl
Growing up and living in Kibera, Kenya, Abdul Kassim was well aware of the disproportionate number of challenges faced by women due to the extreme gender inequalities that persist in the slums. After being raised by his aunts, mother, and grandmother and having a daughter himself, he felt that he needed to make a difference.
In 2002, Abdul started a soccer team for girls called Girls Soccer in Kibera (GSK), with the hope of fostering a supportive community and providing emotional and mental support for the young women in the town. The soccer program was a success, but the looming dangers of slum life persisted, and the young women continued to fall victim to the worst kinds of human atrocities. Indeed, it was the unyielding injustice of these conditions that led Abdul to the conclusion that soccer alone was not enough to create the necessary systemic change.
In 2006, after much work, the Kibera Girls Soccer Academy (KGSA) was established with their first class of 11 girls and 2 volunteer teachers. Today, KGSA is composed of 20 full-time staff, provides a host of artistic and athletic programs for more than 130 students annually, and continues to expand. By providing academics inside and outside of the classroom along with artistic and athletic opportunities, KGSA inspires the young women of Kibera to become advocates for change within their own communities and for Kenya as a whole.
Play Like a Girl tells the KGSA story through Abdul’s voice and vision and the stories of key staff and students. It is written by Ellie Roscher who spent two summers doing research at KGSA and several years writing this book.
Ellie Roscher writes, teaches and speaks about gender, faith, bodies, justice, parenthood and simplicity. Author of Play Like a Girl and How Coffee Saved My Life, her writing also appears in several compilation books, Embodied Faith, The Thoughtful Christian, Alive Magazine and multiple blogs. She holds an MFA from Sarah Lawrence in Creative Nonfiction Writing and an MA in Theology from Luther Seminary, and she lives in Minneapolis with her spouse and two sons. You can find more at ellieroscher.com and @ellieroscher.
“This book contains very personal stories, very powerful stories. Play Like a Girl is about particular people who will charm you and show how desperate problems can be overcome. Through these stories, we come to recognize how the human spirit will prevail.”--Brooks Goddard, TEAA President
“Books For Africa applauds the brave girls of Kibera who used their voices and their bodies to advocate for their needs and pursue their dreams. They will be writing the story of the next generation of African youth, with all of their promise and power.”--Carole Patrikakos, Deputy Director of Books For Africa
“This beautifully written tribute to Kassim and his endearing students demonstrates the power of one person to transform a life and an entire community, one young girl at a time.”
--Jill Iscol, President of IF Hummingbird Foundation; Founder of Hearts on Fire
Find Free Discussion Questions for Play Like a Girl
Visit Ellie's Website