Girls and young women learn to say no

Empowerment of girls and women

Nagpur and environs, Maharashtra state, India

01.04.2020 to 30.03.2022

13,500 €

Target group reached:
2,400 girls and young women


Not to be grabbed, not to be helplessly at the mercy of constant harassment and everyday advances on the bus, to even dare to say “NO!” and to defend themselves against sexist violence: this is not self-evident for Indian women and girls. They have grown up knowing that they are at the mercy of social power relations. And that men can do what they want.

There are more and more cases of sexual violence and of the most brutal rapes in India. We even read about the cruelest murders in the newspapers here. Therefore, after strengthening self-confidence, practical self-defense is also part of the program.

Project goal

We support self-defense courses for young girls and women in Nagpur and surrounding areas. The first thing they learn is that they have every right in the world and also the Indian state on their side. And that they have good reason to say “NO!”. That they don't have to put up with being insulted or assaulted. The girls get to know their bodies better and train posture, strength and body language. As a result, they gain self-confidence and the courage to defend themselves.

Main activities

The self-defense courses “Wenlido” are part of the Prabodhini project in Nagpur, which supports women and children. Instead of resigning and accepting a life in poverty and oppression, often also with violence, creativity and joy of life and self-confident trust in one’s own possibilities emerge despite all difficulties. The girls and young women learn to deal skillfully with these everyday situations and develop a verbal repartee that quiets the muzzler. The most effective tricks and kicks are practiced over and over again to ward off attackers so that they are in place when the time comes.


Story from the field

Sheela from Nagpur

Sheela (name changed) trains at the Aryaloka Computer Institute. There she could also participate in Prabodhini self-defense training. She says, “I go to the computer institute every day. On my way, I always have to pass by a house where a youth is loitering. Whenever he saw me, he would say stupid things and make snide comments about me. Twice I had already tried to stop him, but he always kept going on. I hated having to go by there. But then I took the self-defense class and learned some techniques. The next time he made sexist comments again in very vulgar language. This time I answered him in a loud and strong voice to stop. He got angry and shouted, ‘How dare you talk to me like that!’ and he started threatening me. There were people there watching, but no one stopped him. But because of the training, I was brave enough to fight back, and I yelled at him,‘Don't you dare touch me or I’ll hit you!’ That took him totally by surprise. He didn’t expect me to react like that. He realized how angry I was and that I don’t put up with anything. That's when he shut up and went into his house. Since then he has stopped making comments. I have benefited so much from the self-defense training. I am confident and no longer intimidated. I think I can handle (almost) any situation of violence now.”

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