Chittagong: School-going girls in Bangladesh are being taught martial arts so that they can protect themselves against those who would try to assault them on their way to and from school.
The programme was run by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the Chittagong hill tracts of Bangladesh. A statement from the organisation said, “One of the reasons girls across the world cut school is the fear of the walk to and from school. Our martial arts programme offers girls in the Chittagong Hill Tracts of Bangladesh a new reason to walk strong with confidence.”
“Our hill tracts are very beautiful, and very tranquil too,” said Rakin Marma, one of the girls who was part of this training initiative.
“The solitude was unnerving, especially when we had to go outside alone. It was frightening. At one point, I realised that I am not the only one in fear.”
UNDP organised intensive martial arts training courses for more than 300 high-school girls between the ages of 10 and 16, across all ethnicities across the Chittagong hill tracts.
“I joined the martial arts training, and after a while I felt a difference,” added the girl. “I began to realise my own strengths. Courage comes from within. Together, we are powerful. I, Rakin Marma, am no longer scared. I can follow my destiny without fear, the hills are now more beautiful.”