KARACHI: Allowing young girls to spread their wings and fly, the Girl Power project polished the dancing and boxing skills of about 100 participants.
The project, which was funded by the Franco-German Cultural Fund, sought to create spaces in Karachi where young women can pursue and express their music, dance and sporting aspirations and talents.
To promote female empowerment, five boxers from France and three dancers from Germany arrived in the city to train the girls. The boxers trained 40 young girls from Lyari and the German trainers held a workshop on urban dance movements, which was attended by 120 participants.
"It was a pleasure to welcome both the teams in the city," remarked French consul-general Francois Dall'orso at the concluding ceremony of the project at Alliance Française de Karachi on Saturday evening.
Speaking about the project, German consul-general Rainer Schmiedchen said, "Our joint venture in Karachi aimed to give girls a space to express their aspirations, creativity and talents through movement, sports and music".
However, more activities need to be organised, he said. "I am confident that there are many young women in the city seeking other expressions of power," he added. We need to find a space in society for young girls, remarked Goethe Institut director Stefan Winkler. "Inclusion and participation is their key right."
The three boxers from France shared their experience of working with young talent in Karachi. One of the boxers Sedja Sanogo said, "I really liked it here. It was a really nice experience. We got to teach [the girls] new ways of the game".
"The girls had a tough time learning [boxing] but eventually discovered their real potential," said boxer Myriam Addi. "Technically, they are not perfect but with our training we made them feel stronger." However, Addi lamented that a week was not sufficient time to train the girls.
Boxing coach Emanuel Dos Santos claimed he had heard that Lyari was a dangerous place, however he found it to be otherwise. "We gained a very rich experience [through the training sessions]. Everywhere we went the people were very kind to us."
Summing up the journey, Santos said "In all honesty, I am going to miss the people, the girls we trained, the hotels we visited and the places we shopped at".
Speaking about the impact of the project, Alliance Française director Jean Francois Chenin remarked, "We have achieved a strong target with 40 girls getting trained as boxers, and over 100 as dancers. Initially, we were skeptical about this event and had some doubts but it proved to be quiet successful." Sharing future plans, Chenin said, "We plan to make it an annual project".
Published in The Express Tribune, December 12th, 2016.
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