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Problem

Girls often compromise their dreams, accept that they must resign to fate, being born in a female body. 

1 in 3 women in India face one or more forms of violence in her lifetime. Violence and the threat of violence strips girls of their basic rights and fuels societal barriers that limit them from achieving their full potential.

Society has normalised itself to crime against women, the same way it has normalised ‘weakness’ attributed to the female body. 

A report published by NGO-Akshara, working on women empowerment stated that while ‘Stay home-stay safe’ was the norm to deter Covid, for many women across India it was the most unsafe time, being locked with an abusive and violent intimate partner. There is enough evidence that suggests that a female is habituated to feel a prisoner of her own body, as she feels weak and helpless. 

She starts looking at the female body as a deterrent to her dreams, rather as a voice and agency to live her life fully. 

The emphasis on being soft, gentle, and ladylike has discouraged them from developing their physical potential, or expressing anger or aggression in any active or physical way. (Searles and Follansbee, 1984)

Solution

MukkaMaar works on the premise that each girl has a unique strength to fight and navigate conflicting situations that may arise throughout her life.

MukkaMaar recognises the role of the body in determining our own self-perception (confidence, self-esteem, self-efficacy, assertiveness) and how this hampered by gendered mindsets, creating barriers for girls to explore their true abilities. The program harnesses the power of these perceptions to enable the emergence of a stronger, powerful self in girls- one that helps them to voice their opinions, be bold, and place themselves first. 

The 3 year in-school program with adolescents girls covers a wide variety of topics including identification of types of violence, understanding the continuum of violence and how it systematically creates barriers for girls and women throughout life, ability to build one’s own narrative of culture instead of adherence to norms, life skills (fitness, assertiveness, negotiation, critical thinking, physical and verbal self-defence skills), knowledge of rights, laws to protect children and women and menstrual hygiene management.

The same curriculum has been condensed into an online chatbot based platform called ‘POWER with Mukki’, which gives an opportunity to girls to learn and practice at their own pace, on any device that has WhatsApp.

Leveraging existing infrastructure

We work in partnership with government education departments to deliver our programs to students and teachers within government schools for sustained impact.
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Girls reached through 'MukkaMaar Girls'
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Schools reached through 'MukkaMaar Girls'
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Students reached through digital program
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Messages exchanged on 'POWER with Mukki'
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Teachers trained though 'Equity Labs'
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Indirect students reached through teachers

Voices of MukkaMaar

Boys are permitted to go out at any time, whereas a girl isn’t allowed to go. As they feel that because she is a girl, something wrong can happen to her. This is what girls are told for generations. But I wouldn’t pass this on to the next generation.

Karima, MukkaMaar Girl

In India females have observe fasts in Shravan etc. Females are not aware of the constitution – to get a job the constitution doesn’t want to know how many fasts you’ve observed but demands to know how many degrees you have earned.

Suraj, MM Father

As a father I am assured that with MM training , daughters will be equipped to protect themselves if ever they are caught in such a situation. I do believe they will take action in reality based on what they have been taught.

Kanti, MM Father

Not that the man is physically stronger – but he is aware that the girl won’t speak up/ take action ; he overpowers her psychologically.

Uzma, MukkaMaar Girl

Girls have been following rules, “obeying” without questioning – so when MM tells them they can have a point of view, they tend to reflect over it. Post MM training I realised – I’m simply emulating what I saw my mother doing without questioning /realising the implications of it.

Bhoomi, PT Teacher

People who talk ill about the girl feel that ‘sharm aurat ka gehna hai’ (modesty is a girl’s priced possession). As we keep our jewellery in locker we should keep shyness in locker too.

Ragini, MukkaMaar Girl

When I used to send her to the market, she would be scared, would be unhappy about some boys that used to hang out in that area. Now she doesn’t hesitate, she goes bindaas. She’s more confident and her fear has gone away. This has taken away a little bit of my fear too.

Sheila, MM Mother

I was very shy and used to walk with my heads down but now I’m confident and can look at people and talk to them and this makes people know that I attend MM.

Khushboo, MukkaMaar Girl

Other academies focus on imparting techniques w.r.t judo/karate/ taekwondo to – gain strength. However, the mind is the most important contact point in a fight – and MukkaMaar focuses on making them strong mentally and physically. Many girls have black belt, they can kick at any height but lack in confidence.

Atul, MM Father

MM is making self defence / overall personality development / fitness and exercise accessible to low income families. Girls learn to express themselves openly and won’t hesitate to put forth their views “Khul ke baat karegi – apne vichaar batayenge.”

Ishwar, MM Father

I can share my feelings or an experience with a MM trainer, which I may not be comfortable sharing with my parents.

Mika* (13)

BMC too trains us on various issues/ new ideas which we can impart to the children on and off. There were other programs on gender equality too, but MukkaMaar is unique because of its focus on “opening up” especially for girls.

Jyoti, PT Teacher

During class, a young girl was uncomfortable in her dupatta (stole) trying to adjust as she continued her practice. There is a saying that modesty is a girl’s treasure – so I asked the girls- where are treasures kept – in the safe was the unanimous response. “Sharam aurat ka gehna hai. Gehne kahan rakhte hain? Tijori mein!”. After this, the girl simply took off her dupatta and went about the training routine.

Shraddha, MM Trainer

When he tried to touch me inappropriately, initially I pushed his hands away, and when he still tried to come near and touch me, I caught his neck and pressed it hard with my fingers, he fell down and ran away. My mother came and I told my family about what had happened and they thrashed him, he then apologised and left the place and never returned again. He was my family member.

Anchal* (12)

Published in

Download research report – Power of body, voice and mind for every girl

Individual and systemic solutions

Adolescents

Self Defence*

‘MukkaMaar Girls’ and ‘POWER with Mukki’ are offline and digital programs that work with girls aged 11-14. The programs build self-esteem, self-efficacy and assertiveness with a focus on violence prevention and participatory behaviour and norms around sexual violence.

Both programs are designed after thorough secondary research on existing promising solutions to build agency in adolescent girls. ‘MukkaMaar Girls’ has been running in BMC (Municipal corporation of Mumbai) schools since 2017.

Adults

Equity Labs

Under the ‘Equity Labs’ program, MukkaMaar develops and implements programs for adults working with adolescents to create gender equitable spaces and practices within learning environments.

The program supports the development of MukkaMaar Fellows, who are supported to run the ‘MukkaMaar Girls’ program in schools, as well as interventions to support the Physical Education and Education department to create gender-equitable and safe schools.

Partners and supporters

Contribute

MAKE A DONATION

We rely on your magnanimity to aid us in reaching out to more girls – supporting them while they get the tools to defend themselves. Your contribution is vital to their safety. Join us and let our brave-hearts know, they’re not alone!

VOLUNTEER WITH US

Do you think girls are strong? Come be part of a cause where your contribution makes a world of difference. Volunteering is a simple way of offering your skills, and gets you involved in the fundamental levels of the organisation!

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