Day dedicated to empowerment

Chelsea Ladies defender Claire Rafferty was the guest of honour as the Chelsea Foundation and Plan International joined forces to stage a celebration of our continued work with young women and girls on Tuesday.

Fulham Cross Girls’ School, just a stone’s throw from Stamford Bridge, played host to the event as 50 girls from three local primary schools took part in practical activities and educational workshops organised by Chelsea Foundation staff and coaches and supported by our global charity partner, Plan International.

The sessions on the day were led by year nine students from Fulham Cross Girls’ School, who have been working with the Foundation to undertake their Community Sports Leader award with Foundation staff on hand to guide the secondary school pupils.

The celebration, which aims to raise awareness of International Women’s Day on Thursday 8 March, forms part of the Chelsea Foundation’s ongoing work with girls and young women. The Foundation held a series of school-based activities leading to yesterday’s final event in support of empowering young women.

Following the practical activities and workshops, which focused on empowerment and building confidence, the day ended with a Q&A, with Rafferty answering a range of questions both about her playing career and the importance of female role models.

She chose her mum as her female role model, and said: ‘It is always great to work with the Chelsea Foundation and Plan at these sorts of events. Today has been about empowerment and so we’ve been talking about female role models and building the confidence of the girls involved.

‘Educating girls through sport is important as it builds confidence and the interaction builds team spirit and will help the girls grow collectively and as individuals.’

Chelsea Foundation schools education manager Sam Gaskin-Kemp added: ‘It has been wonderful to work with all of these amazing young women. They have all gained a great amount by taking part in both practical and workshop activities and it has been really nice to get them to think about women who have inspired them in their lives and why.

‘All of the participants wrote a postcard to their special role model which we will be posting on and hope that they will be received in time for International Women's Day.  

‘We will be continuing with our girls programmes and hope to role out further activities to even more young women.’

Plan International became Chelsea’s global charity partner in 2015, and together we are working to change the lives of children in Asia, Africa and South America.

Our joint project in Colombia harnesses the power and popularity of football and Chelsea, to help keep children safe in a country where gangs, guns and domestic violence diminish the life chances of girls and boys as they grow up.

Across the world, Plan International is using football to help educate young people, especially girls - making sure they stay in school longer, marry later, and have the chance to fulfil their potential.

Among those in attendance was Plan’s head of major partnerships Sam Davies and he believes days like this are pivotal.

He said: ‘Through our work with Chelsea we have the fantastic opportunity to use the power of football to champion equal rights, working together we can show that girls and boys are equal on and off the pitch. 

‘International Women’s Day is a great way to remind people there is a long way to go to reach equality, and we are proud to work with Chelsea at events like this to raise awareness of the day and this important issue.’

Click to find out more about Chelsea’s partnership with Plan International