Swiss Embassy and Fatima Jinnah Women University spotlight Pakistani Women Soccer players in documentary screening

The Swiss Embassy in Pakistan recently joined hands with Fatima Jinnah Women University for the screening of a thought-provoking acclaimed interfaith documentary “Barefoot with Godfather of Soccer – Unwanted but Undaunted” by filmmaker Khalid Hasan Khan.

Held at the FJWU auditorium in Rawalpindi, the event drew a diverse audience eager to engage with the themes of inclusion and empowerment to mark International Women’s Day 2024.

Dr. Sarwet Rasul, Dean FASS-FJWU, commended the embassy’s #InspireInclusion initiative in her welcoming remarks, highlighting the importance of such collaborative efforts.

Swiss Ambassador Georg Steiner delivered a keynote address following the screening, underlining the significance of women’s inclusion in society. He stressed the need to harness the talents of women, particularly university students, through interactive platforms like this.

Dr. Abida Sharif, Head of the Sociology Department at FJWU, expressed gratitude to both guests and attendees for their active participation, closing the session on a high note of engagement and reflection.

Interfaith soccer documentary with inspirational stories

Filmmaker Khalid Hasan Khan shared insights into the inspiration behind “Barefoot,” emphasizing the resilience of marginalized youth, including footballers from various religious backgrounds across Pakistan.

“Football is not just a sport but it is a gel that bridges the gap between people of different faiths and social classes along with providing healthy entertainment to the new generation by eliminating intolerance and class difference from the society,” the filmmaker said.

The sports documentary revolves around the lives of two former footballers and current soccer coaches, from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to Karachi, belonging to Christian, Hindu and Zoroastrian communities. “This is more of an interfaith dialogue than a soccer documentary, where the lives of footballers of both genders from the Hindu, Christian and Zoroastrian minority communities were captured with other underprivileged sections of the Pakistani society.”

The documentary centered on young sportswomen sharing their tales of discrimination on the field. Football players from Bannu in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa recounted persevering in the face of terrorism threats. Likewise, soccer players from impoverished neighborhoods in Lyari, also known as the Harlem of Karachi, shared their poignant stories.

Khan underscored the role of mentors, or “godfathers” in nurturing dreams amidst adversity, invoking the theme of humanity in supporting aspiring athletes. “When sports organizations fail to nurture the talent, godfathers step in, to the rescue of dreams of young sportspersons,” he said.

Who is Khalid Hasan Khan?

Khalid Hasan Khan is an award-winning filmmaker who graduated from the New York Film Academy in Los Angeles, California. He has directed and produced documentaries, shorts, and feature films across various genres, accumulating 12 international awards, including recognition for his work on vaccine hesitancy. With over 20 global awards and numerous screenings at global film festivals, Khalid focuses on telling untold stories of marginalized communities often overlooked by society.

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