Self-defense lessons for girls from Bhubaneswar slums

Demo of techniques by well-known martial art trainer Hariprasad Pattnaik during a counselling session

Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited and Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation have launched customized self-defense training programme for young girls residing in various slums in the city. The 10 days special lessons on self defense under Socially Smart Bhubaneswar initiative will be given to total 320 girls in 10 batches at Utkal Karate School, founded by noted martial art trainer Hari Prasad Pattnaik.

After the completion of the self-defense lessons for girls from Bhubaneswar slums, the participants will be given certificates along with a nominal stipend from BSCL under Socially Smart Programme. The program is also planning to have one session for each batch by an official from Police Department that would make the girls aware of some of the important initiatives being undertaken by the department to protect the rights of girls/women. This is a part of Socially Smart Project being undertaken by Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and UNFPA India.

The girls from various slums in the city were quite impressed with the demo presented during the counselling session by national medalist in Katare and recent Gold medalist in Asian Power Lifting Championship, Anupama Swain, in her teens. Demonstration of self-defense moves at Utkal Karate School  Pattnaik and Anupama Swain demonstrated few standard self-defense moves and shared tips with the participating girls. Humara Bachpan Trust (HBT) is the implementing partner for the project for community mobilization. The training will be for two hours every day.

Expressing happiness at getting associated for such a noble initiative to train young girls from various slum localities in the city, Pattnaik said the institute will be providing the best of the trainers for these girls as they will require both mind training, physical training and fitness training. Utkal Karate School has designed a special curriculum for this training programme, which includes 40 major techniques, one mind training and one fitness training.

The senior martial trainer further added that keeping in view their social backgrounds, initial few days of training might be bit challenging. However, at the end of the training process all the girls will gain immense self-confidence after learning the simple techniques.

Babita Mallick (21) from Sahid Nagar Telugu Basti, who is pursuing graduation in commerce in distance mode from  Utkal University, said “I am doubly excited to undertake the training after hearing from the young Asian Power Lifting Gold medallist Anupama Swain.’’ Citing the issues like facing drunken people during commuting on the streets near slums, Babita exuded confidence that after training she would be able to ward off such dangers.

Another participant Tikili Mandal (21), who is a housewife, further, added that she had her full family support to undergo this self-defence training program given by the civic and Smart City administration and is eager to learn these skills.

Speaking on the occasion UNFPA State Programme Coordinator Dr Deepa Prasad described this as a very good beginning under the Socially Smart Bhubaneswar project which will boost the mental as well as physical strength of the young girls in slum localities, which are often vulnerable places in regard to safety of women and girls.

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