India Covid crisis: International footballer forced to work as daily-wage labourer
The 20-year-old has been working at a brick kiln in Jharkhand after the pandemic disrupted her plans.
An international footballer in India has found herself the subject of sudden social media attention, after netizens discovered she has been working as a daily wage labourer to make ends meet.
According to India Today, Soren, 20, participated in the U-17 India squads for age-group tournaments at the continental level in Bhutan and Thailand in 2018-19. She also received a call from a senior team before the pandemic.
However, when Covid-19 hit, she started to work at a brick kiln in Jharkhand’s Basamudi village a few weeks ago after her brother, also a daily wage labourer, found it difficult to find work due to lockdowns.
The youngster's father lost his eyesight due to age, resulting in the responsibility of supporting the family falling to Soren and her mother, who also works at the kiln.
"Every player needs good food, practice. But the government here is not serious towards the players. That is why players like me are working as wage labourers," she said.
She had been promised help last year by Chief Minister Hemant Soren after a video of her plight went viral on social media.
However, in light of fresh attention on social media, Indian Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju on Sunday promised financial assistance for Soren in a tweet.
I've been informed about footballer Sangeeta Soren, who has represented India in international competitions, and is in a financial crisis in this pandemic. My office has contacted her & financial help will be extended soon. Ensuring a dignified life for athletes is our priority. https://t.co/ldT0i7GxuX— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) May 23, 2021
"I've been informed about footballer Sangeeta Soren, who has represented India in international competitions and is in a financial crisis in this pandemic. My office has contacted her & financial help will be extended soon. Ensuring a dignified life for athletes is our priority," he said.
Soren has affirmed that, though it is important to her that she take care of her family, she has not given up on her dreams. She still finds time to train every morning at a nearby field.
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