It has been a long time since our latest blog entry and I would like to apologize for the lack of update regarding our activities in the past couple of months. This time of the year tends to get rather busy for our team due to our day jobs and/or studies. For example, Ginie needed to finish her PhD (for which she got an impressive Cum Laude - congrats!). However, this does not mean that we have remained idle all this time; quite the opposite actually! Coming January, we will be operating two projects in parallel for the first time. Both experienced and new members will be traveling to Zimbabwe and India in order to strengthen and further develop our projects there. An update on what we will be doing in Zimbabwe will be published soon, but in the meantime I will be focusing on our plans for India.
Floris, Ginie and Krissi first travelled to Varanasi last June, and in the two weeks they spent there, they managed to set up classes in Asha and Disha (two organizations devoted to helping orphans and underprivileged children) and established first contact with the Dragon Academy Karate Club and Uttar Pradesh Karate Federation (UPKF). Our FairFight representative in India, Devesh Verna, has been successful in keeping ongoing classes with the equipment we provided him thank to HE Space Foundation’s generous funding. We will be visiting the classes as many times as possible during our time there, but this is not the primary focus of this visit as the project is running smoothly. This January, our team composed of Floris, Pearla, Madeleine, Lijnie, Wahing and myself (Laurent), will reinforce ties with martial art associations in the Uttar-Pradesh region, explore similar projects we could work with on and/or collaborate with and gather media and interviews.
In order to reinforce our presence in the region, we have been invited by UPKF to offer two seminars during our stay there: one in Varanasi (17-19 January) and one in Gorakhpur (20-21 January). Our team members are still working on the exact plans for the seminars, but there will be a combination of the three main martial arts represented within FairFight: Tang Soo Do, Karate and Aikido. Our Aikido representatives, Floris (1st dan black belt) and Lijnie (4th dan black belt), both come from Aikido Dordrecht. Floris was part of the team that traveled to Varanasi in June, but it will be Lijnie’s first project for FairFight. We have been in contact with her several times in the past, and she has been indirectly involved in our projects and fundraisings, but we are honored to finally have her part of the team and her experience is going to be valuable for the success of our endeavors in India. Our Karate representative come from Jundokan France. Pearla (2nd dan black belt) has already worked with us during out last Zimbabwe project, and she wanted to take part in the fight for empowerment once more. Her mother, Madeleine (6th dan black belt) will be accompanying her and having somebody with such experience will truly bring the project to new heights. Finally, we are lucky to count a master in Tang Soo Do amongst our ranks; Wahing Lee (4th dan black belt). As you can see, we have a very capable team and everybody is extremely eager to board the plane and get this project started. The seminars will truly be an enriching experience for everybody, and I cannot wait to share the outcome with you.
Besides the seminars, we will be teaching classes in Asha and Disha and attending Devesh’s classes as many times as we can. Additionally, we would be interested in exploring the next chapter of our project in India, which means we will be using our free time to meet with associations in the region and potentially find similar projects to unite forces with. We will also open a discussion with the Uttar Pradesh Karate Federation to explore the possibility for the opening of a FairFight dojo in India. This would enable us to make the next step forward for our fight for empowerment in the region.
See you in January for new updates regarding our project. Thank you again for supporting us!