LAHORE – U.S. Consul General Yuriy Fedkiw and Public Affairs Officer Farakh Khan welcomed 40 young girls, between the ages of 13-15, from schools in Lahore and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa to U.S. Consulate General Lahore’s “Girls Cricket Coaching Camp” organized in collaboration with the Pakistan Cricket Board and Peshawar Zalmi Foundation. The program promoted gender equality and women’s empowerment through the game of cricket focusing on leadership and team building skills.

During the one day camp, participating girls attended interactive sessions on team building and leadership skills led by Public Affairs Officer Farakh Khan and USAID Punjab Provincial Director Alyson McFarland. The camp also focused on increasing the number of female participants in sports. Participating girls were given a tour of the National Cricket Academy, the Pakistan Cricket Board Museum, and the famous Gaddafi Stadium Lahore. Consul General Yuriy Fedkiw told the talented participants that “Women and girls make up half the world’s population. Yet far too often, their voices and experiences go unheard.” He added that, “investing in women produces effects far beyond the individual. An empowered girl or woman builds a better life for her family and a stronger nation.”

The U.S. Consulate General in Lahore collaborated with the Peshawar Zalmi Foundation, spearheaded by Mr. Javed Afridi, the National Cricket Academy, and Pakistan Cricket Board to host the “Girls Cricket Coaching Camp.” U.S. Consul General Yuriy Fedkiw said “This program will develop new lasting relationships and a countrywide network of girls who strive to create positive change in their homes and communities through sports.” The U.S. Mission in Pakistan is devoted to spreading the message of equality and opportunity to women and girls across Pakistan.

During their visit to the National Cricket Academy, participants were also given coaching lessons from Pakistan’s star cricket players, Kamran Akmal and Muhammad Hafeez. Other notable participants included ace model and social worker Mehreen Syed, renowned TV star Mikaal Zulfiqar, and U.S. Consulate General diplomats. The day ended with exhibition matches played by the talented young girls and a closing ceremony.