Girls in sport

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Script to introduce the film

Maria Toorpakai Wazir is a 22 year-old Squash player from South Waziristan, a highly conservative area of Pakistan. Many girls there aren't allowed to leave their homes and if they do they must be with a male member of their family.

From a young age Maria disguised herself as a boy in order to play sports but as her career grew Maria's squash academy discovered that she was a girl.

Maria received death threats after winning some big competitions which meant that she had to start practising in her bedroom at home.

She spent the next three years practising in her bedroom and emailing Squash schools around the world. She eventually got a reply from Canadian Squash legend Jonathon Power.

Maria now lives in Toronto, Canada and attends the Power Squash Academy which Jonathon runs. She is passionate that all girls should be entitled to the same opportunities in sport and education.

Girls in sport - Maria Toorpakai Wazir

Show the film and use the discussion prompts afterwards. Email commonwealthclass@bbc.co.uk if you would like to download a copy of this film.

Start Quote

Every girl has the right to follow her dreams.”

End Quote Maria Toorpakai Wazir

Why do you think Maria had to pretend to be a boy in order to play Squash?

What would you have done if you were in Maria's position, would you have stopped playing squash or would you keep on playing?

Why do you think Maria didn't stop playing Squash?

How would you feel if your hero invited you to come and train with them?

How do you think you would feel moving to a different country alone like Maria had to?

Maria Toorpakai Wazir & Jonathon Power Maria and Jonathon training in Canada

In the film Maria says "every girl has the right to follow her dreams." Do you agree or disagree with this statement? Why?

How important do you think sport and exercise in school are?

Do you think girls get equal chances in sport? If not, why not?

How do you think sport can change the way people are treated?

In a recent study it was found that "over half of girls are put off by sport and physical activity because of school sport and PE" (Women's Sport and Fitness Foundation). How do you think this can be changed?

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