In a bid to empower adolescent girls with shielding and attacking techniques, RC Bombay Seaside, RID 3142, conducted a self-defence workshop at a school in the slums of Rabale, Mumbai. Over 120 girls in the age group 9–16 were taught easy and retainable techniques to defend themselves during an emergency. “Although more attention must be paid to changing the attitude of men and boys to stop perpetrating violence against women and girls, we still need to teach our girls how to defend themselves,” says club president Kamaljit Singh Dhillon. A club study conducted in the slum revealed that these girls get “bullied and teased almost every single day by local men and boys once they begin to show signs of puberty. Some of the girls are scared to leave their homes and have abandoned their education.” The purpose of this training “was to build confidence in them so they can stand up to the bullies and hopefully enrol back in school.”
Varsha, a participant says, “My mother asks me to hold a key between my fingers or carry lal mirchi in my bag. She has asked me to walk in well-lit areas if I get late from class and wouldn’t let me out after dark. But her tips never make me feel safe. This training will give me confidence,” she adds.
The trainers have taught the girls to use objects such as pencils, water bottles and bags to protect themselves when needed.
“The programme trains them to become more aware of their surroundings and sense danger early. That coupled with the techniques will make them physically strong to protect themselves in times of distress,” says Nandhini Pundlik Birade, a trainer with a Black Belt in karate.
Dhillon adds that the club has chalked out plans for a bi-weekly training workshop for the next six months.
Chiplun in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra was recently ravaged by severe floods resulting in loss of property and business for many. “We collected data of 50 women who tailored from home to earn a living and reached out to them to help them restart their business,” says Dhillon.
The club sponsored 25 sewing machines worth ₹2 lakh and the other 25 machines were sponsored by the Nerul Gymkhana Club.