Every week Asian Standard hopes to shine a spotlight on those unsung community heroes to remind us of all the good humanitarians out there and that not all heroes wear capes.
This week’s community champion is dedicated to rounder’s captain ‘Mama Bear’ Sofiya Makda, from Batley, who is an inspiring and motivating member of the Batley community and to her rounder’s ladies.
Makda is the owner of sports team Batley Ninjas Rounders club, the club was formed in 2015 but it has been quite a journey for the captain and her girls.
Batley Ninjas was originally formed with the help of Rashida Rasool, owner of Ready Steady Active, where it was just a small team of 4-5 women.
The amazing thing about the Batley team is that they are a South Asian women’s sports team where many of them wear the hijab and niqab.
Makda’s daughter chose the name for the rounders group but did not stay on long with the ladies. However, ‘Mama bear’ Makda continued to carry on the team.
Talking to Asian Standard, Makda could not quite believe why she would make a Community Champion.
Her story is unique, and it shows the qualities of how nurturing and empathic she is to her team members and community.
Makda said, “We are a close-knit team, and we all make decisions together rather than just me making them.”
“We originally had nine members left and we started recruiting team players and talking to women in the community. Half of them are 16 years old and local. Now we have two teams, 2A where most of them where niqabs and 2B where many of them 16 years old.”
The Batley Ninjas created a social media presence and their team started growing, they showed that the ladies can have fun and it is not about being serious all the time.
The Captain said, “We got everyone on board and got the ball rolling, literally.”
The team has now over 20 members, but due to covid it has been difficult for a few ladies to stay involved.
But the team spirit and morale are still there and that is something Makda has kept alive since.
Makda is sensitive to everyone’s needs and wants to make sure her team are all okay and looked after.
One member was suffering from anxiety and being part of the team allowed the player to get out and build herself up again.
It was Makda who encouraged and helped to build that confidence in them, and she does this for all the teenage girls who are part of the team too.
She said, “I love to encourage the girls and the women, it is something they really enjoy, and it is about pushing them in right direction and trying something new.”
“One of the girls on the team has now gone on to do a coaching course and she loves sports so much.”
It is great to see the positive example Makda is setting for her ladies and girls.
The team love and adore ‘Mama Bear’ and they all look up to her.
Makda told Asian Standard how ‘Mama Bear’ formed. She said, “I am partially deaf in both ears, and I only respond well to mum. So, everyone started calling me ‘Mama Bear’ and said it should be the name on the back of my shirt.”
Makda has gone above and beyond for her team and has shown true sportsmanship along with empowering and supporting the women to lead healthier and positive lives.
Makda also teaches on the side and runs a business where she caters for weddings but due to Covid it has been a little difficult, but this means she can spend more time with the Batley Ninjas where they can continue to work as a unit and play the game they all love safely.
It is more than just a rounder’s club, they are women supporting one another, keeping active in a fun and engaging way.
The Batley Ninjas club have showered Makda with appreciation and gratitude. She does not accept any money for the sports, but the team recently showed their appreciation for their captain ‘Mama Bear’ by showering her with gifts.
They thanked her on social media saying, “We just had to give a big thank you to our Captain Mama Bear for all that she does for the team!!”
“What better way than to treat her to all the things she’s constantly saying she wants. Some wonderful words from the team mates as well as captains and players from other teams. Days like these always have to be finished off with some food for us Batley Ninjas. We can’t do without.”
Makda is the perfect example of who we should seek inspiration from as she dedicates so much of her spare time.
She really is the mother of the team and she has definitely earned that, as she has humbly and selflessly nurtured the ladies.