What did Kerala learn from the infamous rape and murder of law student Jisha in Perumbavoor? A village at Thanneermukkam Panchayat in Alappuzha now has a Karate and Martial Arts school for Children dedicated to her memory.
The Jisha Memorial Self-defence Martial Arts School was inaugurated on Wednesday in Maruthorvattom village where most residents are Dalits. The school functions in a community hall located near a Dalit colony. The very first day had 70 girls and 30 boys in attendance.
â€śIn the beginning we planned to admit only girls, but it is a sad fact that even boys are not safe in present-day society,â€ť remarks panchayat ward member Advocate Jyothish speaking to The News Minute.
Jyothish says that the school will teach the children to protect themselves and will also help them to be mentally prepared when caught in a dangerous situation.
â€śThey should be able to think fast at such times in order to be able to protect themselves. We also conduct meditation classes and other mental-help programmes, apart from martial art training,â€ť Jyothish adds.
As of now, there are two trainers to teach Karate and Kalari. The training centre was also brought under the patronage of the Kudubasree (women self-help group) unit in the area. This is to ensure that the Kudumbasree members keep an eye on the children who are reluctant to continue with the training.
The whole programme was sponsored by the panchayat ward committee and expenses are taken from the ward memberâ€™s fund, so that students do not have to pay fees. Classes are held on all Saturdays.
The organizers also plan to conduct seminars where experts can come and take classes for students on the importance of being safe.
â€śWe plan to hold a programme where ADGP B Sandhya will be the chief guest. Children should be told about what happens in todayâ€™s world and how they can keep themselves safe. We will also bring experts to conduct awareness classes for these kids. Only awareness can keep you away from harm,â€ť Jyothish stresses.
He also points out the relevance of such an institution near Dalit colonies. â€śThey are highly vulnerable. We get to hear about so many young girls being abused in tribal colonies. So it is high time they are made aware of abuse of all kinds and how to make sure of their own safety. Such kids usually feel very insecure even at home. A proper physical training regime coupled with mental-help support tips will help solve this problem to a great extent,â€ť Jyothish believes.