FairFight opened the India project site in July 2016, in partnership with the AshaDiya Foundation and the International Shotokan Karate Federation of Uttar Pradesh. Shotokan karate classes are held at Disha House twice a week by Sensei Devesh and Sensei Pankaj, and the girls take part in gradings and competitions regularly. The most senior students currently have green belts.
Number of programs
Red Brigade Trust
The girls under the care of the AshaDiya Foundation come from extreme poverty and destitution, many of them taken in by the AshaDiya foundation as child-prostitutes or drug addicts. Thanks to the karate programme initiated by FairFight, they find a space to rebuild their confidence and channel their feelings. They train with karate-gis and tatamis donated by FairFight. The girls now have green and orange belts. Several girls are selected each year for a national competition, which is a real adventure for girls who have never travelled. FairFight has been providing high level seminars with world-class athletes and martial arts masters to the girls and their trainers. Most recently, Alton Brown, twice world shotokan champion, came to coach them in Varanasi. The Disha program was closed down during COVID but re-opened in October 2021 with 15 girls.
Red Brigade Program
In 2021, our Team India coordinator Mary Stevens initiated a partnership with the Red Brigade Trust, a support group for women survivors of domestic violence, acid attacks and rape. Red Brigade advocates for women's rights in Uttar Pradesh and closely follows events of violence against women in the area. Mary trains a group of 40 women each year, over zoom. She also provides materials and resources for the Red Brigade to train up to 1000 women on their own. In 2021, FairFight provided emergency relief funds to help Red Brigade's local communities through the worst of the COVID outbreak.
In 2021, FairFight partnered with Dragon Martial Arts Academy, a branch of ISKF UP in Sarnath, to sponsor two karate students, Anjali and Ganga, from their dojo. The girls both have brown belts and are clear contenders for black belts. FairFight pays for their training, competition and grading fees, and provides their equipment.