Violence against women in India is constantly on the rise, and physically challenged women, in particular, are more prone to be victims of sexual violence. This, in turn, restricts their mobility. Sightsavers - an organisation working to empower visually challenged people aims at changing the scenario by teaching judo (martial arts) to visually challenged women in Madhya Pradesh.
In 2016, more than 100 rape cases were reported every day all across India. With 4,882 registered cases, Madhya Pradesh recorded the largest number of rape cases in 2016.
By providing judo training to visually challenged women in the state, Sightsavers aims to boost women's confidence level and enable them to be more active in the public space. Some of these women have become judo trainers while others have taken part in national level championships, winning medals on behalf of the state. Talking about the impact that judo training has on these visually challenged women, Jayashree Kumar, Program Manager of Sightsavers, told IBT,
Sightsavers' India team could never have predicted the remarkable impact that judo would have on the lives of the women who took part in the programme.
Sightsavers is an international charity organisation that has been working with visually challenged people and people with disabilities for more than five decades. Apart from equipping the women to take care of themselves, judo training has also helped them widen their horizons.
One fine example is Sudama, a visually challenged woman from Madhya Pradesh, who started learning judo four years back. She now works as a trainer herself. According to Mail Online, she said,
Before learning judo I was thinking, 'How will I go out? How will my life go on?' I used to be afraid to go to school alone. My mother and father wouldn't allow me because it was far away and they wanted to avoid the possibility that I would be teased.
Now, her parents do not try to restrict her as they are confident that Sudama will be able to take care of herself. She participated in championships that took place in Lucknow, Goa and Delhi and has won both gold and silver medals.
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