Meet and support the young Zambian women of the YASA Queens Football Club - a football team that is ambitious, skilled and willing to aim high to win the very first title in Zambia’s highest league, the Zambia Women’s Super League.
Who are the YASA Queens? YASA stands for Youth Armory Soccer Academy and the „Queens“ are YASA’s most senior female football team. YASA gives young women with vulnerable backgrounds from across Zambia an opportunity for free education and housing while playing football at the highest level. Often they are orphans and from destitute settings with little opportunity for school education in their home villages. Every day the „Queens“ demonstrate their capacity to take their lives into their own hands supported by a group of highly motivated volunteers who coach them whilst also giving them parental guidance, helping them to avoid early pregnancy, drugs and promoting educational advancement. Not surprisingly YASA’s women’s section has produced some of Zambia’s best players, playing in Zambia’s National Team as well as in leagues in Europe and Asia.
Why are we supporting a women's football team in, of all places, Zambia? It’s because these young women are great athletes and because of their willingness to fight to change their life’s outlook! We know and support them from their first day of training, have seen where and how they live and watched them learn, train and play.
Ina Ruthenberg is newly part of our Better Chance team and first came to Zambia in 2015 to lead the World Bank engagement in the country. Zambia is a country that embraced her quickly, pulled her to it and then she was the one who fully embraced it.
For her the challenges in Zambia are visible everywhere as is the potential the country offers. Living in Lusaka, she and her husband Marc found the opportunity of supporting the girls of YASA Queens. This group of girls come from very vulnerable backgrounds often are orphans and are selected for their skills in soccer as well as their eagerness for education. In our boarding house they find a secure space with very basic living comforts.