Meet the Girl Power Team
We are one team - a combination of individuals and parters that collaborate to help grow and delivery the impact of Girl Power across communities around the world.
Khalida overcame significant opposition before she founded the Afghan women’s football team back in 2007. She then went on to captain the team and later became the first woman to be employed by the Afghanistan Football Federation, initially as the Finance Officer, followed by the Director of Women’s Football Committee.
Despite going into exile in 2011, the pioneer remained connected to her country and involved in many activities supporting and helping projects which helps women in terms of healthy lifestyle and sports.
Today, Khalida is the founder & Director of the Girl Power Organisation, the Commercial & Women’s Football Coordinator at FC Nordsjælland, a Brand ambassador for Hummel, an ambassador of the 'European Week of Sport Denmark', and is a FIFA Legend.
“I played as a defender, and my role was to defend my team. Today, I am a defender of Human Rights, and this is my role to advocate for human rights by using the power of my voice and platform
Khalida launched the Girl Power Organisation in 2014, an association that aims to use the power of sport to support refugees, migrants and immigrants. Sport is being used as a tool to integrate women within their local communities and to empower women providing a new strength and hope in life.
In 2016, Khalida continued to run the Afghan Women’s National Team where she played a leading role in bringing focus on the issue of sexual harassment, exposing abuse by officials of the Afghanistan Football Federation against female athletes in Afghanistan.
Khalida travels the world to represent women who struggle to defend themselves, with speeches at FIFA, UEFA, United Nations, UNICEF, Peace & Sport Conference.
Khalida's work has been acknowledged by Theirworld, and in 2017, Girl Power were awarded the Challenge Award. The purpose of the campaign and award is to recognise those that challenge the embedded prejudices which prevent women and girls from achieving equality on a global scale.
27-years old, Soma Mayel is originally from Afghanistan and her childhood was spent as a refugee in Russia. In 2001 Soma and her family moved to Denmark where they still live.
She was involved with different sports activities from a very early age, such as football, Zumba dance, Gymnastics etc.
Soma has not only been active in sport but also in creating opportunities for others. She has created cultural & social events for refugees, migrants and immigrants when arriving in Denmark. This to strengthen new relationships, build networks & friendships for people starting over and creating a new life. .
Besides her social & cultural activities, Soma has been involved in many political debates and has moderated high profile political events in Denmark.
At a very young age, Soma has managed to be a high and valuable well-known profile in Denmark.
Soma Mayel also received her masters degree in immigration Law from one of the top universities of Denmark "Copenhagen University", and has become one of the top lawyers in Denmark.
She is now working as a successful lawyer at the Danish Immigration Service. As well as being an active member at one of the political parties in Denmark, she is also actively volunteering in providing training and organising events for youths in her community.
Soma Mayel has been a part of Girl Power since 2017 where she first became our Zumba instructor and later joined the advisory board of the organisation.
Shabnam was born and raised in Germany . Her parents left their home country Afghanistan due to the war and sought asylum in Germany where they created a new and safe life for her family.
Shabnam's parents dream was to get her family better opportunities, improving their skills, get higher education and to participate positively and actively in their society. They where raised to give back to the community, whom provided her parents with a new life and shelter.
She has three siblings and they have all been involved in sports, especially Football, Gymnastics and dance and they are all well educated.
Shabnam started her soccer/football journey when she was eight years old where she played street football with the boys from her neighbourhood. Being the only girl amongst all those boys, she faced many obstacles, but she overcame the obstacles and started playing for the first female club ESV Einigkeit.
At the age of 15 Shabnam changed club and started her journey of playing in different professional leagues in Germany.
Ever since she was a young girl, she dreamt of playing for her home country Afghanistan. This dream came true in 2012. That year she had her debut with the National Afghan women’s football team. She will always remember her first game against Sri Lanka. She feels blessed to have her younger sister Mariam playing alongside her, in achieving her biggest dream.
Shabnam graduated from University as a Biomedical Engineer, and is now working for Olympus within the Quality Management department in Hamburg, Germany.
Alongside work, Shabnam coaches football to refugees & migrant Girls & women in her community. She also visits local schools across her local community, giving presentations & workshops about the importance of education and inclusion through sport in society.
Shabnam joined Girl Power in 2017 and is currently on the advisory board for the organisation. Shortly after joining in 2017, Shabnam launched the Germany branch of the organisation under the name of 'Girl Power Hope Fighters Hamburg'.
When I am on the pitch and play football, I feel like I am as free as a bird without any 'problems'; It's the place where I forget everything and only focus on the ball. It is an incredible feeling to play along with my sisters from homeland, and it doesn't matter if we win or lose
Nagin is born and raised in Denmark. She is from Afghan Parents who moved from their homeland Afghanistan due to war and sought asylum in Denmark.
Nagin was born in 1999 and at a very young age she found her purpose in life. She has been working as an ambassador for change and has helped so many young girls in her community. She has provided aid and help to those who escaped war and has faced obstacles such as human trafficking. Nagin has helped them in the transition of integrating into a new society.
She has also been using her platform as a player to encourage young women and girls in starting doing sports and participate in social activities in society,. This to promote integration and social inclusion.
Nagin started playing football with the boys in her local community back when there was no girls clubs. Since she was very active and involved in social activities, she could manage to launch her own girls’ team which was a mix of Danish citizens and girls from refugee & immigrant communities. The goal of the team was to foster friendships and network.
Due to her active participation in the community, the Danish Olympic Committee "DANMARKS IDRÆTSFORBUND" offered her job at “DIF Get2Sport” activities. The main purpose, of the project, is activating non-western girls in society through sport & education.
Nagin is now a student of Physical Education at Aarhus university, an ambassador & member of advisory board of the Danish Football FA (DBU), and a Pro-Football player at Barbrand IF.
She has been nominated for DANISH FOOTBALL AWARDS 2018 -SOCIAL PRIZE 2019- and COACH OF THE YEAR 2019 Award.
Nagin joined Girl Power in 2018 and since than became an advisory baord member and a football coach of the organisation.
With Nagin's achievements and strategic thinking, she has become the youth representative of the municipality where she lives. At DIF, she represents the project in different media and at national conferences where she has been invited as a guest speaker.
Nagin started playing as a pro- football player in ACFC football club. Her strong profile and ambitions for using football as a tool to promote social inclusion helped her get a part time job in her club.
The main task of hers was to manage the collaboration between the ACFC football club and the leisure club, with a special focus on female members. She has been using her cultural force and background in the interaction with the girls and their participation in sports . Her experienced has also been used in handleling the cooperation with the parents.
Nagin has also worked as a consultant for the Mayors office in dealing with Integration and Development projects. The main purpose of the project was to promote importance of education and sport activities amongst refugees and immigrants, by giving speeches at the churches, conferences, schools, universities and through organising different cultural activities
My ambition is to provide a platform and opportunities for women and girls who were not allowed to dream in their countries - I want to use sport to dare them to dream
Russell is an immigrant from Iran, who left Iran at a young age to finish his higher education in Europe. First in Italy then moved to Denmark.
Russell was selected for the regional water polo youth team, later on, he changed his career to football and managed to play at a professional level in Iran.
The love for water sports encouraged Pakzad to start to learn sailing, Windsurfing, Paddle boarding and advance Diving.
“Diving changed my perspective towards life when I learnt diving ever since every weekend I take my gears on and go on a mission to dive to clean the sea from plastic. My lifestyle has also been moving towards becoming more green. I do my best to do my part to safe the planet by being active and taking climate action”. Pakzad.
In 2019 Pakzad joined Girl Power, as an event & project manager for the Erasmus European Project .
The purpose of joining this organisation for me is to set a good example of diversity & empowerment to others.
I want to send a message to everyone that we can not witness an equal world unless we work together. The change can only happen when all genders regardless of colour, race, belief start working together for a better world.
Shabnam Mobarez is a former Capitan of the Afghanistan Women National Team and a former player of BI Brønderslev a pro- danish football club.
Shabnam Left Afghanistan with her family when she was only a few years old. Like every other refugee, Mobarez with her family went through different countries and asylum centres and finally sought asylum in Denmark.
Her love and passion for soccer started when she moved to Denmark as an immigrant back in 2003. ”I was a young girl when I first embarked upon my love of soccer. I used to play with boys before even thinking twice about my gender or segregating myself in any other way”. She played more than 100 official and friendly games for her club.
Since the beginning of her professional career as a football player, she has been volunteering in coaching refugee girls & women football.
Throughout the years, besides Afghanistan, she has visited other countries, where she has been able to interact with people that admire soccer too. Most of them are young girls with a similar dream. I hear their stories of pursuing their goals for the future. I see the thrill of emotions they each uphold as they speak of their aspirations, and it reminds me of where I have come from. I hope that I can inspire these girls, not just for a future in soccer, but as a lesson that hard work, dedication, and a little hope goes a long way.
In 2016, Shabnam joined Girl Power as a football instructor, mentor and advisory board member.
Back in the day and even today, soccer to me is an expressive art, just like music, poetry or painting - Soccer to me is that holy of an art. Dancing with my feet to the tune of the ball gives me a pleasure that no one will understand
Shabnam is a women's rights activist who uses the power of football to stand for women's rights around the world.
I was a young girl when I first embarked upon my love of soccer. I used to play with boys before even thinking twice about my gender or segregating myself in any other way
Tanya joined Girl Power 2019, after meeting Khalida during a presentation about women's football in the school they both studied their Bachelor in (CPH Business, Sport and Event Management). After hearing Khalida’s story and her experience of struggling with unequal opportunities in her life as a football player, she felt that it was her calling to meet Khalida and to be a part of something bigger and where these issues are being taken seriously and where girls & women are being valued.
Tanya has a rich experience in sports, in her younger years she was swimming, doing track & field and playing football. After a few years within individual sports, she decided to solely focus on football, where she fell for the team spirit and the versatile features of the game.
Football was everything to her and she has moved around after football since she was 16. But after years of trying to make the life puzzle (school and work to get a living) match with her dreams of becoming a professional football player, she decided to focus on her studies when she moved to Copenhagen 2018. She wanted to focus on providing future generations better opportunities within football economically so that the young girls could dream of playing football for a living
Football is the biggest sport in the world and if we use the platform of football wisely, we can move mountains and create a world that is beautiful, safe and inclusive for everyone.
There is a lot of work to do, but I believe in the positive impact we can make through football and teaching our kids the values of cooperation, helping each other and solidarity, that football taught me. I want to be the change in the world that I want to see and I want to inspire upcoming generations to live by the same principle
LEYLA MELIA ASLAN
Leyla is a half German half Turkish communication designer that specializes in social design. She was born in Germany and raised in Turkey. She started practising sports at a very young age.
Throughout her life, she was involved in many different sports like karate, volleyball and flag football. And being a female athlete in Turkey wasn’t always easy.
She encountered many inequalities throughout her sports career, whether it was difficulties finding sponsors, access to proper coaching staff and facilities or media visibility.
She recently moved to Denmark to obtain a Masters Degree in Design at Designskolen Kolding, and now she is combining her passion for sports with her professional skills.
As a social designer, she is highly interested in using her skills to combat complex social problems. She believes that designers can trigger behavioural change within communities and have a transformative role in building a sustainable and equitable society.
In 2020 she joined Girl Power for her Masters Thesis collaboration and to be part of the planning of a Learn & Play Event in Turkey.
HEIDI DE TEILMANN
Growing up in a small town in what was considered the ghetto, Heidi saw first-hand how kids were struggling with absent parents, violence and people wanting to break social heritage. Her own dad abandon her and she grew up without the support from the one person that should have been there unconditionally.
She originally had an education in child care, cause she wanted to make sure that no kids would deal with the hopelessness and loneliness that comes from missing a parent and the emotional effect it can have on life. She worked with kids for 12 years before deciding to add to her knowledge.
Growing up she found peace in culture such as music and sports where she has used the two as an outlet for emotions. Therefore, she decided to combine her passion for helping people with her passion for sport and events.
In 2018, she graduated in Marketing Management and in 2020 she graduated in Sports management. She is looking forward to getting practical experience and combining the two things, while being a part of Girl Power.
Heidi also strongly believes in lifting each other up and that family is not just something you are born in to, it’s also the people you meet throughout life.
Marisa Schlenker is originally from the USA, growing up outside of Chicago. She was a student athlete playing for the women's football team at the University of Wisconsin where she majored in political science and Spanish literature. After her studies, she chased her football dreams, playing in southern Spain, Sweden, stateside and most recently in Germany.
While spending a year in Paraguay working in microfinance with the Fundacion Paraguaya, she had the opportunity to coach and prepare a girl's team (who represented the foundation) for their participation in the Homeless World Cup. It was a pivotal moment in her journey, leading her to the sport for development sector, where she has worked as a trainer, program manager, gender specialist and more recently in monitoring, evaluation and learning roles.
In 2015, Marisa earned a masters in sport for development and conflict resolution from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (UOC) and currently, she is completing her second studies at Konstanz University in conflict management, international administration and peace building. She has worked on different sustainability in sport research projects, is a member of Sport Ecology and the impact working group within SandSI.
In 2018, she was the lead researcher of the EU funded Global Goals World Cup Erasmus + project where she had the privilege to work alongside Khalida, Shabnam M. and Shabnam R. In 2019, she co- hosted a women in football workshop with Shabnam R and the Girl Power team in Hamburg.
2020, Marisa joined the organisation as a project manager to support the organisation on program development & planning activities of Girl Power International Leadership Academy.
We know sport is a social construct and that the power relations within it can be both productive and oppressive. It is critical to consider these relations when examining how sport can intentionally be used to achieve non- sport outcomes and particularly those relating to gender social development outcomes
powerful collaborations with our partners
CHAMPIONS ohne GRENZEN is a non-profit association founded in April 2014. They have been active since 2012, under the umbrella of the association Weil Fußball verbindet. e.V. They are dedicated to providing life aid through sports for refugees in the German federal states of Berlin and Brandenburg.
Camp Group/ Germany develops concepts and tools to help organisations and communities in different regions of the world overcome systemic barriers and achieve greater participation for disadvantaged groups. The goal is to contribute to sustainable social change through projects and knowledge transfer in the areas of education, sports and capacity building.
Hummel A/S- A Danish sporting goods brand which supports Girl Power with sports equipment and goods.
Red Cross / Sandholm Asylum Center / Denmark - A public institution for asylum seekers in Denmark and the largest reception center for asylum seekers in Denmark. The center's daily operations are run by the Danish Red Cross. The center also serves as both a receiving and departure center for newly arrived asylum seekers and asylum seekers who have been rejected. However, if rejected for asylum, the group will eventually be moved to the Sjælsmark deportation camp.
Trampoline House/ Denmark - Trampoline House is an independent community center in Copenhagen that provides refugees and asylum seekers with a place of support, community and purpose.
A Danish professional football club that plays in the Superliga, the top league in Denmark. FCN provides a platform and opportunities to organise Girl Power activities in the club. The club also provides facilities and opportunities for the participants to take a club tour, to watch official league games and enjoy the club environment, and to meet other people at the stadium during the games.
FARE.NET/ UK- The Farenetwork is an umbrella organisation that brings individuals and informal groups together. The organisation is driven to combat inequality in football and uses sport as a means for social change.
Earth Refugee/ Greece - Consisting of basic but often overlooked emergency mitigation, adaptation, integration tools and developmental services for refugees within the realm of “humanitarian aid in the 21st century”. This in cooperation with state authorities, international & national NGOs, foundations, grassroots groups, individual volunteers, entrepreneurs & corporations.
FREEDOM SEEKERS FOOTBALL CLUB
Freedom seekers Football Club/ Turkey - Is based in Giresun Turkey. The club was established in 2017 by the former captain and former player of Afghanistan women's National Football team, Frozan Tajali. She is also a refugee. The players are refugees from different war-torn countries such as Afghanistan, Irak, Iran, Syria and Somalia. Different age groups (of females and males-instead of “both”/binary) from both genders are registered.
Kızlar Sahada is a social enterprise that works to rewire the ''you can't'' gender code which is often imposed on girls and women of all ages. She empowers them through football. With the mottos #iyifutbol, #goodfootball, #kindfootball, #gentlegame, our aim is to stay within fair-play. Encouraging kindness is the base of the organisation.