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  • Idea Of MukkaMaar

    Idea Of MukkaMaar

    MukkaMaar started with a free class at a Mumbai beach with just 4 girls

  • MTV

    MTV

    Featured on MTV on Women’s Day 2017, garner more than a million views

  • Nurture the champs

    Nurture the champs

    Launched ‘Nurture the champs’ programme to prepare students interested in pursuing the programme as a sport, with extra advanced level training and nutrition programmes.

  • First wins

    First wins

    MukkaMaar girls participated in District level wushu competition and brought back 12 medals, including 2 at the State level held in Nagpur

  • School pilot

    School pilot

    Developed and piloted a comprehensive self-defence program in a public school teaching 300 students during school hours as part of the school curriculum

  • Women’s Day 2018

    Women’s Day 2018

    Celebrated International Women’s Day with demonstrations, documentary screening & workshop for 600 municipal school girls

  • Established

    Established

    MukkaMaar was formally incorporated as a public trust with a vision to enable every girl in to be fearless

  • Joined hands with MCGM

    Joined hands with MCGM

    We joined hands with MCGM (Municipal corporation of greater Mumbai) to deliver the programme across all their 1100+ schools

  • Teachers’ Training

    Teachers’ Training

    Developed and launched the MukkaMaar Teacher Training for professional martial-artists to create more trainers who can forward our cause and ideology

  • More wins

    More wins

    6 girls brought back more than 12 medals at the District level in Mumbai and State level competition held in Aurangabad

  • 1700 girls

    1700 girls

    With our strengthened team, we launch MukkaMaar in 33 schools teaching 1700 girls

  • Women’s Day 2019

    Women’s Day 2019

    Inter-school competition across 33 schools attended by 500+ girls, 200+ parents & 250+ participants. Shabana Azmi was the guest of honour.

  • N/Core

    N/Core

    Selected to be incubated by N/Core (one of India’s leading social sector incubators, by Nudge foundation)) amongst 500+ non-profits in India

  • Renewed MCGM partnership

    Renewed MCGM partnership

    We renewed our partnership with the Municipal corporation for a second consecutive year

  • 2500 girls 45 schools

    2500 girls 45 schools

    With a steady pipeline of of talent, we are now delivering the program to 2500 girls across 45 schools, and ready to scale

HISTORY

The idea of MukkaMaar was born in February 2016, with a free self-defence class for just 5 girls from a slum area next to a beach in Mumbai. After the initiative received extensive media coverage and changed the lives of close to 400 girls; MukkaMaar came into existence as a public trust in June 2018.

This is Ishita Sharma. I’m an actor, and dancer, and run a school for performing arts in Mumbai, Aamad. There I started learning martial-arts, kalaripayattu & Kung-fu, and saw myself get stronger, fitter and much more confident. Moreover, before I realised, I was less afraid; less afraid of eve-teasing, of travelling alone at nights (which is unavoidable for me), less afraid of speaking my mind, of making a noise when need be… the list is endless.

On a fateful night in 2016, I happened to watch a disturbing documentary about one of the many rape-cases in India. It left me sleepless and restless, pained and helpless, and very, very angry. I’d been a feminist for a long time; fighting sexism from family and neighbours, but this time it was different. I was suddenly thinking of myself as only a small part of the society I live in, and the realisation struck that I am suddenly empowered to share what I felt with the rest, who have held back and let themselves be told that they are not. Especially with girls of the future generation.

Thus began the journey of MukkaMaar. I along with my kung-fu sir, Mr. Alex, decided to just start teaching self-defence to as many school-going girls as possible.  But we didn’t want to do a 1-day/ 1-week camp, we wanted to be very sure that girls who learn with us will be given the level of training where they remember and are able to use it, for a lifetime. The very next weekend, we started a self-defence class on Versova beach, in Mumbai. We started with 5 girls (age 5-15) and within a few months, the number grew to 10, 20, 40, 80, 100… This was in Feb 2016.

Where it all began, Versova Beach, Mumbai

By 2017, the girls on the beach decided to enter into competitions. To our utter surprise, everyone who participated, won! We couldn’t even believe what was happening. It wasn’t so much about the competitions, as it was about the mindset. When I took the girls there, they didn’t have uniforms, I gave them my shorts, but they thought they were short, so cut up their brothers’ pants and wore. They had no experience with gloves or mouth guards. But just a year of training gave them this unshakeable confidence! That they could do anything. And they did.

Soon, there were about a hundred girls practicing on the beach

The girls told me ‘didi baaki girls kyun nahi sikhti, MukkaMaar ki team ko bada karo na.’ (Why don’t other girls learn this, make the MukkaMaar team bigger).

So, in 2017, we made some changes to the program, and brought it to a Municipal school, teaching 300 girls in 6th, 7th, and 8th standards. The MukkaMaar period became like a compulsory activity for girls; to be done twice a week (utilising the PT period) and during school hours.

With the new changes, we could envision MukkaMaar spreading across the whole nation. I was excited to see how the world around me would change, if that were to happen! Imagine, if every girls was safe. If every girl was strong. If we all supported each other. If schools taught this like they teach Math. If girls aspired to do push-ups, and punching. If we were never scared. If one could walk on the road without covering our breasts. If we don’t freeze the next time we are touched. If our reflex is to defend, not be numb. If we can stand up not just for ourselves, but accompany our brothers and friends and protect them. What if they start tying a rakhi to us?

Classes start in Mumbai Public schools

The visual was too grand to say no. And so, in June 2018, MukkaMaar became an official non-profit organisation; as the key initiative of Ishita Sharma Foundation, registered as a Public Trust.

The news of the registration came along with an official tie-up with MCGM (Municipal Corporation of greater Mumbai) to bring MukkaMaar to all girls in 6th, 7th and 8th across their 1100+ schools.

But our work has only just begun. We have not even scratched the surface.

There are ~25 million 11 to 14 year old girls in India, who do not have the skills to defend themselves. We hope to reach all of them, in this lifetime.

If you have ever envisioned a world that I have, it’s time to say hello, and join the cause. Use a hashtag, post a picture, share this page, write to us, speak to your boss, donate, volunteer, speak to girls, give a lecture, speak to a government, plan an event, or just write some encouraging words to us; anything helps. The journey will be tough, but thoroughly enjoyable, I assure you!”

Envisioning a world with zero gender-based violence

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