PAVING A WAY TO BUILD A SAFER SOCIETY FOR WOMEN: A CONVERSATION WITH ANAND KOTI

Paving a way to build a safer society for women: A conversation with Anand Koti

With the recent rape cases discussions on the situation of women and children safety in India have surfaced yet again. However, statistics prove that our reactions to these incidents do not help much. India records a crime against a woman every 1.7 minutes; every 16 minutes a rape is recorded whereas domestic violence against a woman is recorded every 4.4 minutes (NCRB). Clearly, reacting to incidents is not enough. We need to act on issues of women safety before other incidents happen. We need to Pre-Act. But, how?

The Tata Tea Jaago Re ‘Suraksha’ initiative was launched to empower young girls across India through self-defense classes. 93,000 girls were trained, not just with physical self-defense skills, but also with the psychological training to take their safety into their own hands. But this was just a step towards ensuring women safety. The larger onus lies on each of us individually to empower women around us. When more people will step up to Pre-Act, we will be able to build a safer society. One such Pre-Activist we spoke to is Anand Koti, a professional martial-arts expert who is empowering girls through the Mission 1000 initiative by his organization, the Colorss Foundation (established on 15th Sep, 2008).

This is his story as a Pre-Activist.

What is Mission 1000?

With daily news about rising gender discrimination and crimes against women, I felt that there is a need for people and the society to change things at everyday levels. I am a martial artist, and one thing I knew I could do was use Karate as an agent of social change. So, we launched Mission 1000.

Mission 1000 is a project that is spread across either 6 or 10 days. In one financial year we aim to train 1000 girls/women from underprivileged societies. In this project the girls are taught 5-9 self-defense techniques. Gradually the intensity of the workshop increases as it helps to improve their endurance and builds stamina.

We have created ‘Self-Confidence Booster’ Module which is an amalgamation of meditation and martial arts, to help boost the self-esteem of the girls/women. This module specifically addresses important issues which are psychological as well physiological in nature, and is tweaked for each individual.

How we are changing the situation through technology

Our main goal is to create an impact which stays for a longer period of time. The positive impact of the project was observed when the girls from our workshops trained their mothers and sisters. Also, technology is being used to achieve our aim. We have designed and developed Quick Self Defense application for android phones. This is a standalone application, which means that you only need to download it once. Internet connectivity is not required to run this application. This application teaches the user 9 self-defense techniques and is available in more than 18 languages.

How can each of us be a Pre-Activist?

We should practice ‘one step at a time’. Parenting needs to be redefined. The boys must be educated to respect girls. Citizens having an expertise on gender sensitization should conduct workshops for parents and families. The Gender Gap is not only for the less privileged society. The women across the society are facing these issues at different intensity.

Surprisingly, we have come across a large number of citizens who are not interested in our workshops and they feel that it’s not important for them to learn self-defense. However, the entire idea is not about self-defense and protection. It’s about addressing your psychological and physiological needs directly. Better mental health is the solution and self-defense training is a must. You never know when it can be used. Self-defense is required not only to protect yourself from others but to protect yourself from your family and friends too.

Anand Koti believes that to address an issue, we need to first understand the root cause, and then Pre-Act to ensure we tackle the issue on time. Share your thoughts on what practices you think Indians must adopt on a daily basis to ensure women’s safety.

Write to us on our Facebook and Twitter pages, or email us at jaagorein@gmail.com.To know more about the Tata Tea Jaago Re Suraksha initiative, visit jaagore.com

Alarm Bajne Se Pehle #JaagoRe

Sources: MapsofIndia.com, NCRB

 

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