Onlookers were stunned to see a 12-year-old girl attacking a 60-year-old woman with her skills in martial arts. More surprising was the 60-year-old defending each attack with the same martial arts techniques. Anyone passing along the Government Girls’ High School here cannot miss the view of a group of women practicing martial arts.
Around 400 females in the age group of 12 to 60 are learning martial arts techniques under the woman empowerment project of Perinthalmanna Municipality here. The project titled Jagrata, started around a year ago, has a huge response from the target groups. Municipality has introduced the project to empower women to defend themselves against physical offenses and make them emotionally strong.
“We had conducted a survey in all the wards under the municipality to collect data about sexual abuses and domestic violence faced by women. The data was shocking. The municipality decided to prevent these recurring incidents of violence against women. That is how the project started last year,” K Vinodini, coordinator of the project, said. Winner Sports and Martial Arts Academy here is providing training in Wushu for the women. Girls from different schools in the Municipality, housewives and working women are getting the training. The publicity given to the project is attracting more women than expected.
“My confidence has improved after learning the martial arts. It is giving me physical and mental strength. My mother, aunt and cousin sisters have started learning martial arts after I encouraged them,” Surya Sankara, a trainee here, said.
The housewives have the opinion that it has improved their energy level and working women feel that they are able to better manage household work and their profession with the energy they have secured through the training.
“We are providing martial arts training along with psychological counselling for the women here. Through the training, we are trying to improve the health and mental strength of the women,” trainer Shereef said.
Municipal chairperson Nishi Anilraj said that the municipality had started such a project after they realised that women empowerment cannot be achieved through awareness campaigns alone. Municipality claimed that it was for the first time a municipality in the state was introducing such a project.