Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has been an integral player for his club as well as the national team for quite a while now. He has always made his fans proud with everything he has achieved in the past few years. Anyone who has been watching Indian football for a while knows the importance of the big man and the kind of impact he has made.
From being the first Indian to play in an Europa league match to being a rock-solid goalkeeper against the Asian champions, Qatar, Gurpreet has pretty much achieved everything that a footballer can achieve in this country.
But this time around, Gurpreet has done something very uncommon yet very appreciable. The perception that footballers do not live up to their social responsibilities has been debunked by Gurpreet’s incredible initiative. Gurpreet recently came up with an initiative in which he would be auctioning his sketches and would later double the generated amount to donate to an organisation who’re working for the development of the women’s game.
“My focus is being an ally to women in India. As males, we have privilege that we need to actively relinquish. We as men need to work hard to step aside and use whatever platform we have to also talk about women’s empowerment and to be an ally for women. I am in no way an advocate for women, women are strong and incredible enough to fight this battle on their own. I am simply a man who wants to be there as an ally, to recognise whatever male privilege I have, and to work in the background to create a more equal world”, Gurpreet told IFTWC while speaking about his initiative.
It is very uncommon to see any sportsmen doing such kind of an incredible social work but Gurpreet has not been one to shy away from it. The SketchByGSS would help the organisation to provide football, shoes, training kit etc to the girls who aren’t privileged enough to afford them. When asked about how this wonderful initiative came to his mind, Gurpreet quoted, “I was in Sydney with my fiancee and I was sketching Dexter from Cartoon Network and after finishing it I was showing it off to Devenish and she thought I should be doing something creative with it, that’s when putting sketches on Instagram came alive and to have it to stand for something and maybe trying to use it for giving back to the community in any way possible was also her idea.”
While talking about such a great initiative, Gurpreet also gave his best wishes to Bala Devi, who has been making headlines for her brilliant stint in Europe. “It’s amazing to hear about Bala Devi plying her trade in Scotland and she is the hero that so many young footballers will look at the example of where football can take you, I wish her all the luck and I hope she climbs even more heights”, said Gurpreet in a very encouraging tone.
Gurpreet said that he would always try to help in the near future as well and would continue to work with young grassroot girl football development organisations. “We are interested to keep working with young grassroots girls football organisations. We honestly are just trying to give a little help where help may be needed, to help grassroots clubs get a bit more equipment, a few more bibs, a few more footballs. In India, it’s unfortunately already easier for boys than girls to get into sports and to be encouraged into it. We were playing with the idea of helping out boys teams, but if there’s any way I can help be an ally to feminism in India, I will do that” quoted Gurpreet.
Gurpreet will be trying his best to develop women’s football in this country in every possible way, but he also wants every other fan to contribute as much as possible and help some kids achieve their dreams. “If you can start small then start small, any type of contribution makes a difference, coming to a football game. Talking about it with people, encouraging local kids boys and girls to play. Even small things like these make a difference. From providing your attention to the sport to maybe opening up an academy or a local club and running it – it all counts”, said Gurpreet while concluding.