Karate Girls, Empowered Women

Colorss Foundation works towards women’s empowerment by developing the latent potentials of underprivileged children.

Colorss Foundation works towards women’s empowerment by developing the latent potentials of underprivileged children. 

By Neha Shaw

I am Neha Shaw, a 4th year student of Symbiosis Law School, Pune and have been a volunteer at Colorss Foundation. Among several impressive projects, a very interesting one is Project Enhance. Project Enhance uses a combination of martial arts (many studies have championed the cognitive and behavioural benefits of martial arts) and creative arts (which are fun and beneficial in helping with brain stimulation) as vehicles to promote both the physical and mental well-being of underprivileged children. It’s our belief that good mental health is not just the absence of a mental disorder, but is a state of well-being where an individual feels confident and ready to cope with the stresses that life sometimes presents.

Since the founder of Colorss Mr. Anand Koti, has more than 15 years of martial arts training and a passion for using his talent to help others reach their potential, it makes the project more concrete and valuable. I chose to work on Project Enhance because of its uniqueness and a curiosity to see and feel how this project is making a social change.

Empowering an underprivileged section of our society

Currently this project is in progress in two schools, with fifty girls from Mahadji Shinde High School and another fifty three girls from Dr. Ambedkar Memorial School, ranging from class 5th to 8th, both being schools under the Pune Cantonment Board. These young girls are viewed as inconsequential and are often neglected by their own parents. Project Enhance aims to empower these girls and boost their self-confidence as well as improve physiological and psychological health so that they can one day become educated, productive and active members in their communities and society.

The project consists of 1 hour sessions, twice a week, with 30 minutes of martial arts training and 30 minutes of creative arts. There is also a counselling component integrated into the program. We, the volunteers try to provide a support system by motivating the children to succeed, improving their communication skills, discussing future careers and teaching them about handling themselves well in society.

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These young girls are viewed as inconsequential and are often neglected by their own parents. Project Enhance aims to empower these girls…

The girls have responded quite positively towards the project. One can observe subtle, but definite changes in them. There is pride and positivity in their eyes when they perform the punches. Their increased levels of self-esteem and confidence can be seen when they participate during the creative sessions. They are assertive and are not scared to take a chance and respond, even though they might not have the correct answer. They look cheerful, happy and emotionally stable.

Belonging to poor families, there is a high chance of these girls being sent to school just for the sake of mid-day meals. In such a scenario, we try to instil a higher reason in them. The sparkle in their eyes, when they introduce themselves in English (the teaching medium is Marathi in their schools), when they finish some assignment first, when they are appreciated and told “very good”, is something that can only be experienced, and it rewards all our efforts and makes our hard work worthwhile.

The girls look forward to the creative sessions and are most eager to learn something new. We have conducted sessions on Sudoku, painting, comic strips, English speaking, singing, dancing, public speaking, body language, impromptu writing and general knowledge on a diverse range of topics.

Priti Basoraj Hasamanee is in grade 8. Her father says, “After my child joined Project Enhance program her anger has gone down. Her eating habits have improved and more importantly it’s now stabilized. She used to study with interest before she joined but now she sits with her wholehearted dedication for her studies. Due to her involvement in the project, she is getting the needful exercise and more importantly she is more balanced today.

Priti herself states, “I am happy and peaceful today. After joining this project I learned many things like how we can use our body parts to defend ourselves. The games that we play in the project have improved my thinking ability. The suduko that we learnt is very exciting, I love it. The workshops on how to study has helped me very much”.

A video of a Karate class in session:

The best part is they do not look at this extra activity as burdensome, but in fact positively realize and appreciate its value. The definite reason for this is that they can feel a ‘change’ in themselves. They’ve learnt to dream.

They can feel their wings, and now have a desire to fly.

*Photo & Video Courtesy: Colorss Foundation


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