Health and wellness culture is about more than just exercise. While exercise can be a good incentive for getting in shape, there is often more to the story.
For example, take BoxGirls Kenya. This outlet for young girls in Nairobi is proving to be more than just a gym. In many ways, it’s both a safe haven and a golden opportunity. Parenting quotes often reveal how scary it is to send your child out into the world, especially when you feel as though you can no longer protect them. These girls are taking charge of their own lives.
Alfred Analo Anjere is the creator of BoxGirls Kenya and has coached more than 3,000 girls over the past 14 years. After watching the violence against women that occured in Nairobi in 2007, Anjere knew he had to do something. That something turned into BoxGirls Kenya.
In his gym, Anjere hopes to equip the girls of Nairobi with the proper tools to practice self-defense and build their confidence.
The mission: “To create a world where women and girls lead dignified lives in secure communities, where they are valued as equal members and have control over their bodies.”
The vision: “A society in which every girl holds the power to create opportunities for herself and others.”
BoxGirls Kenya has multiple programs in place to meet these goals, including the following:
* Leadership and mentorship programs
* Dada Cash (improving the community and promoting community engagement)
* Monitoring and evaluation
* Boxing and education
BoxGirls hosts a variety of events, such as a boxing tournament, an entrepreneurship workshop, and an annual summit.
Many areas in Nairobi have been and still are quite dangerous for girls and young women. When walking down the street becomes too risky, it’s important to be prepared.
Rather than living in fear, the girls who attend BoxGirls Kenya are able to practice self-discipline and self-defense, so they can feel more secure in their abilities to create change within their personal lives, and within the future of the community. Just the knowledge that you could defend yourself and that you’re getting stronger, even if you never use it, can build confidence in young women.
Boxing is also a sport. That truth is evident at BoxGirls. Not only do the athletes learn strength, agility, and precision, but some go on to represent great heights in the world of boxing.
Two BoxGirls have gone on to compete in the Olympics. Elizabeth Andiego competed in the 2012 London Olympic Games and Christine Ongare just won an Olympic gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Even if some are not participating purely to excel at the sport, having success stories like these within the community is an amazing lens of light through which each girl can see a brighter future for herself.
At the core of BoxGirls Kenya is a passion for female empowerment. Every young woman who walks through those doors is given the chance to improve her situation, physically and mentally, with the hope that it can help shape a more positive future.
Boys are also allowed to participate in adjunct education on how to advocate for women’s rights and be an ally.
About the author
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health- related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com.
With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.