Despite being harassed for practicing a facet of Chinese kung fu, these girls and women persist because it allows them to develop self-confidence and cultivate peace.
It’s not easy dealing with oppression every day, but a group of girls in Afghanistan has found a healthy outlet by studying the flowing movements of Wushu. The activity which is developed from the ancient practice of Chinese kung fu is one of the few sports women in the country are allowed to participate in. Not only are regular meetings of the Shaolin Wushu club instructing the girls on self-defense techniques, they’re inspiring self-confidence.
The classes are taught by 20-year-old Sima Azimi, who learned the sport in Iran where she competed. She’s been teaching at the Shaolin Wushu club for about a year, and says the practice is “really effective for body and soul.”
“I am working with Afghan girls to strengthen their abilities and I love to see Afghan girls improve the way other girls have improved in the world,” explained the activist. “My ambition is to see my students take part in international matches and win medals for their country.”
Reuters reports that the students, who are between the ages of 13 and 20, face regular harassment and abuse “in addition to the normal dangers of life in Kabul.” By meeting and studying the martial art, they aim to not only improve their own lives but cultivate a more peaceful climate in Afghanistan, particularly by advocating for more freedoms for women.
“There are many people harassing us but we ignore them and follow our goals,” commented Shakila Muradi.
Unsurprisingly, Islamic militants have targeted the females for participating in the sport. In the past year, the group, comprised of mostly Shi’ite believers, have faced a series of attacks. They have no intention of stopping anytime soon, however.
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