9 January 2019

Mauritius: Vice-Prime Minister Advocates Self-Defense Training for Women Empowerment

press release

Self-defense empowers women, increases their physical strength, but more importantly, it raises their self-esteem. Through self-defense, women feel empowered from the inside, become physically stronger and transform into confident leaders.

This was the gist of the message of the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Local Government and Outer Islands and Minister of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family Welfare, Mrs Fazila Jeewa-Daureeawoo, this morning at the award ceremony for the SheFighter Programme held at the Municipal Council of Beau Bassin-Rose Hill. Some 439 women and girls were awarded certificates for having attended the first level of the SheFighter's Programme. Through initiations, more than 1 200 women and girls were also targetted.

She highlighted that the Programme is designed to empower women both physically and psychologically through self-defense training. Learning SheFigher's self-defense techniques, the Vice-Prime Minister said, will not only give women the opportunity to defend themselves in difficult situations, but will also build up their self-esteem. The ultimate objective, she pointed out, is to end violence against women and harassment through protective approaches.

Speaking about the benefits of sports, Mrs Jeewa-Daureeawoo underlined that girls and women who practice sports have higher levels of confidence and self-esteem and lower levels of depression. They also have a more positive body image and experience higher states of psychological well-being than girls and women who do not practice sports, she added.

The Vice-Prime Minister also appealed to the population to provide equal chances to all girls and women so that they can become powerful agents of change. The values of gender equality have to permeate the whole society so that it becomes more fair, just and equitable, she concluded.

The SheFighter Programme

The National Women's Council, under the aegis of the Ministry of Gender Equality, Child Development and Family welfare, launched the SheFighter Programme in March 2018 to empower women and young girls to take a stand and defend themselves against violence.

Shefighter organisation, the first and only Self-Defense studio for women in Jordan and Middle East region, is an international organisation specialised in empowering women through self- defense. The Programme was founded by Ms Lina Khalifeh from Jordan with the aim to train and empower millions of women globally through self-defense.

In March 2018, Ms Khalifeh came to Mauritius and provided training to 11 officers of the National Women's Council, two officers of E-inclusion Mauritius and three Officers of Passerelle. Following which, these trainers provided free training in self-defense to women and girls around Mauritius.

The Programme can be adapted to different age groups and physical conditions of participants. Through E-Inclusion Mauritius, some 20 disabled participants were also reached.

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