Self-Defense Training for JBFC Matrons and Girls

June 8, 2016 9:36 pm Published by
Editor’s Note: At JBFC, we are not just providing a safe and nurturing home for vulnerable girls, we are empowering them. We want to make sure our girls are well prepared for any future situation they may encounter. That is why we have recently introduced an exciting new program to JBFC – Self Defense Training.

JBFC is one of only five non-profit organizations chosen to participate in a pilot program to bring self-defense training to girls in the Mwanza region of Tanzania. The self defense training is designed to empower girls to identify potential danger, to act with confident independence to get to safety, and if necessary, to know how to physically protect themselves.

We chose two of our female staff members to become trainers in self defense for our girls: Miss Deo, our Early Childhood Coordinator who doubles as a matron in the girls’ home and Felista, our campus Social Worker. They both attended the initial week-long training workshop in May and began introducing the program basics to our Secondary School girls just last week.
(Felista is in blue, Miss Deo in yellow)

A national study on Violence Against Children in 2011 found that nearly one in three Tanzanian girls reported at least one incident of sexual violence before their 18th birthday (UNICEF 2013).

The most important thing that Felista said she learned in that first week of training is that fear and lack of confidence in girls help make men feel more powerful. She looks forward to building the girls’ confidence and helping them realize they are not powerless against men.
Throughout the next year, our two trainers will work with the girls on a weekly basis on self-defense techniques and life skills. It is important they do it each week, so that if they were to find themselves in a dangerous situation, their reaction would be second nature and they would not have to stop and think about what they are supposed to do.

One of our girls, Leticia, said she loved the self defense training and the program is good because they are learning a lot. She can’t wait for the next session because the girls are getting stronger physically and have more confidence.

Teddy is looking forward to learning more in self defense training because she thinks it will be useful after she leaves JBFC if she might ever need to protect herself.

Our two trainers will attend more meetings throughout the year and one other week-long training in a couple months. Sometime this fall, the girls will participate in an extensive 12-day training program with Felista and Miss Deo.
Miss Deo says “The most important thing I learned is how to train our girls to defend themselves when they are at risk of being raped. This program is important for our girls because it will eliminate fear, teach them to be ready, and how to defend themselves. It will teach them how to understand their inner voice and have courage.” 

The organizations instrumental in bringing this much needed program to Mwanza include INTERTEAM, COET (Caretakers of the Environment Tanzania) and KWA WAZEE, the organization that has developed the self defense program. 

On a personal note, I am so very proud of Miss Deo and Felista for taking this program on with dedication. The way they have represented JBFC throughout this partnership can be described as nothing short of amazing.  

Guest Blogger, Melinda Wulf, is JBFC’s Administrative Director in Tanzania.

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This post was written by Mainsprings