The Ingraham Asha School for girls held self-defence classes for 70 girls with hearing and speech impairment from August 19 to 24. They were taught Mahima Choudhary, a16-year-old from California, USA, who holds a brown belt (second level) in Taekwondo.
The school, located on GT Road near Ghaziabad Railway Junction, has over 250 students, including those with physical and mental disabilities. The classes were held for girls between the ages of 13 and 19 years.
“The self-defence class was organised only for the hearing and speech impaired girls as others were not able to perform the actions being taught due to their disability,” said Darshan R Budden, school principal.
“Over the past few years, many girls have complained to us that some men stand outside the school or their house and try to grope them and make vulgar gestures. Last year, one of our students had also complained to the police when a man had grabbed her while she was returning home. It was only when she bit him on his hand that he had let go,” said Lalita Masih, special educator at the school.
The trainer, Choudhary, said, “My parents put me in Taekwondo classes when I was 11 and since then, I have religiously practised and followed my instructor’s teachings. My mother is closely associated with the school for the past many years and hence I decided to come to India and make a difference in these girls’ lives.”
Choudhury said she picked some of the best girls of the lot who quickly grasped the moves and held extra classes to enable them to train other girls.
“Even though these girls are hearing and speech impaired, their ability to learn the moves is laudable. Apart from Taekwondo moves, I taught them that in dangerous situations, the first instinct should be to run to a crowded place. I also taught them how their dupattas or hair clips can act as weapons in such situations,” she said.
Her mother, Jyoti Choudhary, also distributed whistles to the girls to keep with them at all times to attract attention in times of distress.
“This was the first time that we had such a class in the school. Since some girls have been trained to provide training to others, we will continue to let them practice all the moves everyday and also hold more such classes in future,” said Prakash Jethro, director, Asha Ingraham School.