Five Months On

Five months ago, I left India and the 100 girls with whom I had sweated, laughed, and kiai-ed. I left wonderful and talented project managers who continue to work for these girls’ empowerment. And I also left behind some changes, which I have failed to mention in all this time.

Change 1 – Continued self defense to girls in Babuan. Before arriving in Babuan, the girls there had never been involved in karate. To my knowledge, they had never participated in an organized sport. So, I was it, their first and possibly last exposure to any kind of empowering sport activity. But that just didn’t make sense to me. Sure, Babuan was a far away village, but a weekly or bi-monthly trip couldn’t be that much of a burden. So, before I left, I made some people make some promises. I was assured that my intrepid motorbike driver, Dheeraj, would continue the self defense classes in Babuan. This has continued.

Change 2 – ‘Stranger Danger’. The organization I was there with did not have a ‘stranger danger’ training for the girls. I developed one, going over how to identify bad people, the ploys they use to kidnap, and how to avoid or get away from the people or situations. The information was translated. I don’t know whether it’s been handed out or not.

Change 3 – My presence caused a stir. The karate teacher for the KGBV girls had left for some reason some months prior to my arrival. After my departure, she was mysteriously hired back. : )

Change 4 – I was requested by Kalam to share my thoughts on the organization’s programs at KGBV. Never short on thoughts or ideas, I sent him a list after my return to the States. One of the ideas I had was for the girls to go on organized field trips to expose them to the broader world. I was informed that all girls went on such a trip last week.

Small steps. More to come.


  1. Monex said,

    January 26, 2011 at 2:41 pm

    While it is true that children can be victims of people they know the fact is there are sick twisted strangers who attempt to get hold of and sometimes keep child victims.This is an ugly and difficult truth and sometimes parents may lean toward finding reassurance in the idea that their children dont have insane parents and they dont their children to be alone with the baseball coach. Another reality is that no matter how much we talk to our children about not talking to strangers they just arent always emotionally mature enough to resist their tendency to trust someone who seems nice or who is needs their help .

  2. Belle said,

    February 4, 2011 at 2:13 pm

    Thanks so much for your thoughts, and, yes, children fall victim to strangers. I would like to add that adults fall victims to strangers, too, through coercion, so it is not just small, immature beings. One of the things I and others in this field try to teach is for a person (regardless of age or gender) to pay attention to their intuition. Intuition is our innate ability to determine when something is not right, regardless of how ‘right’ it might look to that picture in our brain that is socialized into fitting in and not making a fuss – especially true of women. I give the example of my sister who was approached in her town of 82 people by a young man she knew. Although she knew him, she intuitively felt something wasn’t quite right as he walked hurriedly toward her. But in the few seconds that she had before he bear-hugged her, her socialization overrode her and she told herself she was being silly, so she stayed in place and did nothing. Had she listened to her intuition, those few seconds would have allowed her to react in a defensive way. Luckily, she was not harmed; the young man was off his medication and was manic, and simply hugged her. But it was later found that, in his unstable condition, he had tried to harm another resident. So, bottom line, listen to intuition – it is informed and can save your life.

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