Santhiya learns to be safe

In Chennai, Santhiya, in the 8th grade, is learning to protect herself and those around her from human trafficking and sexual predators. She is a part of our Project Sarika programme where we teach young girls self-defence, fitness, and football. This programme, as a whole, empowers young girls with skills to be safe and fit. Santhiya lives in a community called Kannagi Nagar. A recent study by Voluntary Health Services (VHS) found a high incidence of violence, both physical and sexual, against women and children, with more than 85% of the women being victims of domestic violence. In Kannagi Nagar, 62% of women have faced sexual violence, 53% are forced into child marriage, 71% experience child abuse, and 79% face sexual harassment.
This reality makes programmes like Project Sarika crucial for young girls in Kannagi Nagar. Santhiya says, “I am learning football, self-defence, life skills, and most importantly, how to live safely in the community. Through Oasis, I also have a mentor to guide me in the right direction in life.”
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