OAKWOOD HILLS – A nonprofit organization’s effort to end sex trafficking and train at-risk women and children is growing nationally and locally.
Members of the Green Tara Project will make their fourth trip to India next month to teach self-defense skills in some of the poorest areas of the country. The group also has awareness classes scheduled with local universities and domestic abuse shelters in the coming months.
“We are making an impact and having an influence,” said Belle Staurowsky, founder of the Green Tara Project. “These women and children are getting trained, and this upcoming trip is looking at making even more of an impact.”
The Oakwood Hills resident has trained more than 300 women and children in three trips to Mumbai and New Delhi since 2010. That also includes recently training the first “remote trainer,” who teaches self-defense as part of the Save the Children and Save Our Sisters initiatives in India.
The most recent trip was last December while India was in the spotlight nationally after the gang-rape of a young woman, who later died. The men responsible eventually were sentenced to death for their actions, and the incident shed light on a growing epidemic in that part of the world.
In seven days, members of the project trained more than 130 women and children as young as 7 and as old as 60. The four-hour training included a variety of striking and escape techniques, as well as pre-assault awareness and predator identification.
“It’s something we are very proud of,” Staurowsky said. “They wanted 300 girls and 48 staffers trained in seven days. We were able to get through 130 and a ‘remote trainer,’ and that was huge. This trip we will be on the ground to train for 12 days. We will be able to build on what we already started.”
Next month’s trip includes plans for Staurowsky to bring two assistants, both former karate teammates, to assist her with training an additional 100 girls for six hours in self-defense as well as two additional “remote trainers.”
Members also will initiate a rape-whistle campaign in Sarai Kale Khan and work with local artists to develop human trafficking awareness campaigns. The group also is partnering with Prerana, which is dedicated to ending second-generation prostitution and protects women and children from threats of human trafficking.
The biggest accomplishment thus far has been getting the Save the Children and Save Our Sisters organizations to change their curriculum to include self-defense training, Staurowsky said.
To learn about the project or to donate, visit www.greentaraproject.com.