The WE Coach Nepal program was implemented by The WE United Project with funding from the U.S. Embassy in Nepal. The WE Coach Nepal project uses football as a platform to empower young women to become leaders and active participants in their local communities. The WE United Project trained twelve young women from Dhangadi, Surkhet, and Kathmandu districts as football coaches and empowered leaders. Nepali Times featured WE United’s work on WE Coach in their monthly newspaper, on the occasion of International Women’s Day, 2022.
Lhakpa Bhuti Lama has been into sports since she was four years old. She was part of India’s Tibetan Women Soccer Team, received her formal training in Dehradun and is qualified to participate in the Vancouver International Soccer Festival in Canada.
When the WE United Project called for applications to its coach program in 2021, she immediately applied. She had been playing in WE United’s futsal tournaments for some years and now wanted to be a coach to help change people’s perception of girls and women in sports.
“I want to empower girls from the Himalayan region through sports,” says Lhakpa. “And help them be good examples for future generations.”
Lhakpa, who faced discrimination in the field from an early age, recalls that the school grounds were occupied mostly by senior male teams. And when she and her friends used the basketball court, the boys would run away instead of joining them.
Even when she took her coaching initiative to a Tibetan school, eyebrows were raised. Teachers insisted that studies were of utmost priority, and sports was a distraction. They could not understand why she wanted to coach girls anyway, despite the interest from female students.