Teaching Indian Girls to Kick Ass

Check out these stories about a woman using karate and self defense to empower young women in India.

For more information, check out this blog.

Under the name The Green Tara Project, she hopes to “provide a framework that applies the principles of karate, the techniques of self defense, and the concepts of cognitive behavioral therapy in class and gym settings through a network of karate, self defense, and counselling professionals.”

“This framework could then be implemented by any women’s organization or program to complement their own efforts. The framework is being designed such that it can accommodate scaling (organization size; class size) and sensitivity to local cultural attitudes when implemented globally.”

The project is being founded in Forbesgunge, Bihar, “a remote northeastern corner of Indian” and “one of, if not THE, poorest areas in India.”

“People there earn just 50 cents a day. Crime is rampant. And Forbesgunge is one the trafficking route that transports kidnapped girls and young women from Nepal to cities such as Mumbai for sex work.”

The project is a very new venture started by a woman who from Illinois who says she was inspired by stories she read online. In particular, she was moved by the story of Assiya Rafiq of Pakistan who was repeatedly raped by criminals and police officers alike, and who fought back to persecute her attackers. She also found inspiration in the book Half the Sky: Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women Worldwide, by New York Times writers Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

There is always a concern that volunteer projects such as this will be short-lived – projects that appear to be founded on more enthusiasm and inspiration than know-how and experience. Hopefully, however, the project will find the adaptability and inclusiveness to become a sustainable and empowering venture for women in India and elsewhere. Best of the luck to The Green Tara Project!

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Zalina Alvi

Zalina grew up in Toronto and began her career in journalism at the York University campus newspaper. Before joining Verge in 2010, she worked for a documentary festival, a non-profit organization and various magazines and newspapers. Zalina has had some eclectic travel experiences, including reporting for a newspaper on the island of Molokai in Hawaii.

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