Beach is for morning walks and exercises for some and a quixotic place for the lovers but isn’t that surprising when you see some random girls shouting some words with their hand movements complementing their noises? It is indeed. It is exactly you will think when you see these girls from the Versova beach slum area are participating in Kung Fu martial art training at Versova beach.
Mumbai based NGO ‘MukkaMaar’ is changing the concept of following conventional safety measures by training these Underprivileged girls aging five to fifteen the martial art to ensure their self-defense through weekend sessions. We spoke with the mind behind this concept Ishita Sharma an actress by profession who explained the initiative and execution challenges.
MukkaMaar is conceptualized by professional Kung Fu martial art trainer Alexander Fernandes and a television and film actress Ishita Sharma. The organization has trained almost 40 girls in a year and has recently collaborated with a municipal school Gandhigram in Juhu. More than 300 students of the school are learning the defensive art twice a week class based on their Physical Training PT, period. The institution is planning to get in touch with more such schools. “there are lot of practical issues to collaborate with municipal schools and the working environment too is not supporting to the children” said Ishita Sharma. “Teachers are preoccupied with their own personal challenges and most of the time children are found playing in the school than studying” she added. The narrowed mindset of the society is clearly visible where slum areas are concerned however as an individual mind our trainers make sure to deal with students with practical approach so that they could survive in the same society they live in. “we make sure that we dress appropriately when going to the beach so that the girls learn the same, we tell them to first fight for their education and then for the dress up”. Ishita said. “parents are coming out of their zone to send their girls out but they are insecure and have small thinking as they do not want to share this thing with others, they are insecure”. Confirmed Ishita.
Students of MukkaMaar have participated in three district level kung fu competitions organized by Wu Shu Association Mumbai. Three girls from Versova beach batch have secured Silver Medal and two gold medals have been conferred. In a Sub junior State Wusgu boys and girls championship earlier this year two girls have bagged silver medals. The tournament was supported by The Spartan Poker team. The girl gang is all set to jump into National level Kung Fu tournament next year. “Girls have become domestic celebrities, they are asked for their needs in the house and it’s an achievement”. said Sharma. “I have observed that parents’ support is very important, the girls who have moved further have had parents’ support throughout and so the results are positive” she said decisively.
While looking at the challenges for these girls to participate in the training she said “girls at the age of 14 know that she does not have to jump or stretch legs because she is a girl, it is surprising and at times it is difficult to convince them to practice in front of boys, the distance between girl and boy is so huge that it can’t be removed easily, however now after some sessions they are comfortable to execute”.
While girls are learning at the beach and one municipal school they are setting an example of a bright future where they will not be lesser than anyone.