Odisha: Self-defence training for adolescent girls starts by BSCL-UNFPA project

Bhubaneswar: With the changing time, negative influence of use of technology and changing social order, when the safety and security issues of girls, women and especially adolescent girls are at risk in the urban slums, the area under the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD) would make the girls empowered with self-defence techniques, so that they would feel more protected and safe.
The stepping stone for the programme was laid today with the self-defence training program for adolescent girls from BTCD slums commencing today at Utkal Karate School in the city. Forty girls between 14 yrs and 25 years participated in today’s counselling programme.
In total 10 batches with 32 members each will be trained for 10 days each in self defence training. The training will be held Utkal Karate School, founded by famed Martial Art trainer Hari Prasad Pattnaik. After the completion of the training, 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.
Humara Bachpan Trust (HBT) is the implementing partner for the project for community mobilisation. The girls were selected by HBT after holding series of discussions with community members and important stakeholders of the slum.
The participants of today’s counselling programme were attended by girls from Shantipalli Telugu Basti, Masjid Colony and Jagannath Basti. The training will be for two hours every day.
The girls in today’s counselling session were quite impressed with the demo presented by national medallist in Katare and recent Gold medallist in Asian Power Lifting Championship, Anupama Swain, in her teens.
Pattnaik and Anupama Swain demonstrated few standard self defence moves and shared tips with the participating girls.
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 B.Com from Utkal University in correspondence mode, 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.
OSD at BSCL, Santosh Kumar Mishra said “the self-defence training will empower the girls to enhance their confidence and they would definitely feel proud to learn useful techniques to use them, when needed.’’

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