A 10 day self – defence training programme ‘Sashakta Netra’ for visually impaired girls was inaugurated on the “Nirbhaya Diwas”. The training programme from December 16 – 26, 2014 is a joint initiative by Sightsavers and Department of Crime against Women, Madhya Pradesh Police. The inauguration of the programme coincides with the second anniversary of the unfortunate ‘Nirbhaya’ case that happened in Delhi. Twenty visually impaired girls in the age group of 15 – 22 years will undergo training and are from Hoshangabad and Jabalpur.
Inaugurating the training programme, Mr Surendra Sinh, Director General of Police, Madhya Pradesh said that the initiative was laudable for training these girls who are vulnerable being visually impaired. The DGP assured the girls of the State to feel safe and said “ We are determined to provide a safe environment for girls and women in the State.” He further said that it was important to create an awareness of safety so that girls can feel confident. Appreciating the work by department of Crime against Women Branch, MP Police, DGP said that the training can be more effective if the trainers for self-defence can be women. He also mentioned that these type of trainings will be disseminated at the divisional level.
The objectives of the programme were spelt out by Mrs Jayashree Kumar, Programme Manager, Sightsavers, Bhopal. she emphasized,” VI girls will have enhanced strength and confidence, abilities to physically defend oneself and feel more empowered in their life through this training. By equipping with required skills, these VI girls will develop positive attitude and self-reliant to face multiple challenges in life.
Ms Archana Bhambal, Area Director, Sightsavers North India gave a brief about different initiatives undertaken by Sightsavers in the field of disability. She said that while working with visually impaired young girls, they expressed their apprehensive and fear about feeling unsafe while venturing out alone. And while exploring collaboration, Sightsavers “was grateful to get a positive response from MP branch for crime against women”.
Delivering the key note address, Mrs Aruna Mohan Rao, IPS, Additional Director General of Police, Department of Crime Against Women branch, Madhya Pradesh Police said that after the unfortunate incident that occurred in Delhi two years ago, a number of changes have happened in terms of law, debates. MP has been in the forefront in providing solution for protecting women. She emphasised that it is important that women should come forward to equip skills for protecting oneself. Visually challenged girls have their own unique problems and “we are grateful to Sightsavers for this programme”.
During the Inaugural programme, Department of Crime against Women gave a live demonstration of self-defence techniques by 25 college girls who were trained by MP Police. Mr. Arvind Khaire also presented a demonstration of self-defence techniques for VI Girls with the help of the Instructors trained earlier.
Explaining the challenges for training the visually challenged, Mr Arvind Khaire, key trainer said that he has simplified the actions for this training as “ for visually impaired, main challenge in the training is that of judging the distance” and hence daily activities have been converted into self-defence techniques. For example, daily actions like closing the door or climbing stairs are some daily activities that will be used as examples.
The visually impaired girls were presented by radio as gifts by the DGP, Madhya Pradesh, Mr. Surendra Sinh. He also interacted with all the girls enquiring about their studies, hobbies etc. while presenting the gifts.
Apart from the VI girls, around 150 persons were present during the inauguration programme including police officials, dignitaries from other INGOs and NGOs and Sightsavers supported project partners.
The Inaugural programme ended with vote of thanks by Ms. Kiranlata Kerkatta, Assistant Inspector General of Police.
Sewa Sadan eye hospital extended their kind support by providing food and other facilities to these VI girls for all the 10 days from 16-26th December 2014.
The event was covered by media – ETV, BTV, Dainik Bhaskar, Hindustan times, The Times of India, Dainik Jagran, People’s Samachar, IBN, Hari Bhumi (local media), Raj Express, 92.7 Big FM and India News Channel.