Sports & self-defense

Goal :

Build self-confidence and negotiation skills of adolescent girls by imparting knowledge on health, nutrition, education, and leadership through our sports and self-defense programs.

Need :

There is a stark gender divide in India. Girls are considered a burden and suffer from lack of access to basic necessities and rights. Incidents of female infanticides, dowry (giving and dowry deaths) and sexual violence are prevalent across the country. Collectively, these conditions result in girls not having the self-confidence or the access to information to make informed life decisions, whether it is about their personal life or related to livelihoods. Research shows that girls who play sports are likely to have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem. Sports and self-defense arts help girls develop an understanding of their bodies. They learn to break stereotypes of gender performance, understand concepts like teamwork, goal setting, competitive spirit among others. Learning to defend themselves, in particular, enables them to navigate spaces without feeling insecure and protect themselves if their safety is under threat. Moreover, sports and physical activity programs provide opportunities to bring communities together and help realize development objectives relating to issues such as reproductive health and gender-based discrimination.

Our program

Through our sports and self-defense initiative, we support grassroots organisations in providing life skills education to adolescent girls. Our projects run in tribal regions of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Many girls participating in the program have had to face difficulties from gatekeepers like their families and communities. However, with our consistent efforts and strategic interventions, we have been able to convince the communities to let the girls participate and benefit from the trainings. Some of the sports we encourage include karate, hockey, football and cricket. We have seen successful stories of girls re-enrolling themselves into school because of the confidence developed through sports activities. Some of the girls have assumed community leadership roles and they are working with us to encourage more girls to take up the trainings. These girls are also our champions in spreading the message of gender equality and ensuring that the girls in their villages don’t succumb to early marriage, dropping out of school among other issues.

Key Highlights :
  • One of the girls of the program in Madhya Pradesh who had enrolled in the Cricket activity was selected as the captain- State Women's Cricket Team, Shivpuri.
  • 200 girls enrolled for the Karate course in Harda in Madhya Pradesh. Neelam, a 17 year old youth champion, represented India in the Asia Karate Championship and won a bronze medal in Singapore.