Breaking Boundaries International Women’s Day Blog: Meet Aarushe Singh

In honour of International Women's Day, we wanted to shine a light on key ethnically diverse women or organisations focused on delivery to ethnically diverse women from a community perspective. This year's theme for International Women's Day 2022 is #BreakTheBias it is our aim to share the journey of this young and inspiring South Asian woman in sport so that her experience may inspire more women to engage in sport also and break the bias! 

Meet Aarushe Singh, a former Breaking Boundaries ambassador for Slough Borough Council: 

Following on from the incredible journey of England's 2017 and 2019 World Cup victory, Breaking Boundaries is a project that aims to unite and connect communities through sport. I had the opportunity to have an integral role in this programme since its conception in 2018 and have witnessed the immense growth in community cohesion and participation in promoting an inclusive environment. My role as an ambassador was to encourage and engage with individuals from all backgrounds, faiths and ages to support a vision of creating a safe, healthy and socially connected society.  

1. Which women focused groups do you support with your organisation and how do you support them? 

We encourage women from all backgrounds and abilities to interact with sport. Breaking Boundaries increases the opportunities for girls and women to have a chance at weekly, sustained sport programmes to aid their passion for sport. I too, have worked closely in developing platforms for girls to play and compete at different levels. It has been amazing to see the love for cricket, which I so deeply have for the game too.  

2. What have been the successes you have felt and seen in supporting the physical health and wellbeing needs of women in your area? 

In Slough, where am I based, Breaking Boundaries has consistently utilised sport as a tool to improve physical participation and social cohesion for all. Consequently, we have seen unprecedented levels of growth in the participation of women and girls' cricket. It's incredible to have been a part of the development of the first Women's Cricket Team in Slough. I am certain that the passion and commitment for cricket will continue to flourish in Slough as a result of the continued work to engage the community in sport as well as connect them together through sport.  

3. If you were to name a female sporting role model, who would you pick and why? 

This question has been incredibly difficult for me to choose as I have grown up watching many inspiring cricket role models such as Charlotte Edwards and Harmanpreet Kaur. However, an idol who has greatly motivated me this year has been Army Physiotherapist Officer Harpreet Kaur Chandi, the first Punjabi, Sikh woman who recently completed a solo expedition across the Antarctic to the South Pole. As a woman who aims to serve the Armed Forces one day, I look to this role model as guidance and support as she highlights with her actions that  physical activity can connect us all from all of corners of the world.  

4. Do you feel representation of female athletes in elite sports make a difference to on the ground delivery in terms of role models? Do young girls and the wider community feel more inspired and why?   

Absolutely, I feel that the coverage of women sport on screens has greatly encouraged and inspired young girls to participate more. It serves to emphasise the importance of role models and idols which helps spark an enthusiasm within societies for women sport. It makes an incredible difference to the level of awareness and engagement if the younger population is able to connect with the talents on our screens.  

5. How does sport help connect women from different backgrounds? 

Sport is an unbelievably powerful platform for promoting gender equality and empowering women. It influences our ability to build stronger, safer communities by bringing women together. There has always been a positive relationship between sports participation and social inclusion of women and girls. 

Personally, I have witnessed how sport, in particular, cricket, can create long-lasting friendships and networks. Although, I am a second-year student at University of Southampton, I am still in constant contact with my teammates at Cookham Dean CC and individuals I have met through Breaking Boundaries. This proves just how beneficial sport can be in providing opportunities to improve a sense of belonging and community.  

Most importantly, my passion for cricket has enabled me to grow in various aspects of my academic and social life. I have grown in confidence, leadership and interpersonal skills which are integral to any part of life. From cricket, I have gained opportunities to be alongside such inspiring, talented, and friendly individuals whom I am lucky to have spent time with. And for that reason, I have always and will always have an immense respect and love for the game.  

6. In your experience how has Breaking Boundaries supported connecting communities and assisted your organisation in engaging women from all backgrounds by using sport as a tool for social connection? 

Breaking Boundaries provides women and girls access to a safe social environment where they can exercise freedom to express their passion and enthusiasm for sport. Its continuous promotion and awareness of sport has generated positive and supportive attitudes towards women's engagement in activity.  

Breaking Boundaries has made this possible through easy access to multi-sport sessions, PHAB-Fit dance sessions, competitive sport leagues and festival fun filled days. The programme offers a chance to participate in a variety of sports including badminton, tennis, basketball, cricket and more. This has been successful in connecting women from different ethnic and social backgrounds. Despite the pandemic, the efforts of the project have ensured that activities remain fun and exciting while maintaining an integral message of togetherness.  

I am extremely grateful to be a member of the Breaking Boundaries project, as this project has always promoted a sense of inclusion and belonging, demonstrated anti-discriminatory behavior, and acted as a safe environment for young girls and women. I truly believe there are many hidden talents that are emerging through and I am certain there will be many stars that will shine through from Slough onto our screens in the coming years.  

Breaking Boundaries is a programme funded by Spirit of 2012, supported by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and The Institute of Community Cohesion (Icoco). To stay up to date with the project activity be sure to follow us on Instagram and Twitter