29 Nov, 2016

‘Girl Power’, a joint project of Goethe-Institut, Pakistan and Alliance Francaise de Karachi, and funded by the Frence-German Cultural Fund will kick off on Dec 1, it was announced at a joint press conference of both the organisers at the Goethe-Institut here on Monday.

Sharing details about the project, Stefan Winkler, director of Goethe-Institut, said it was aimed at girls between 14 and 30. And it was to give them space to express their aspirations, creativity and talents through movement and sports as Karachi had a lack of locations and opportunities in sports and culture for the younger generation, a majority of the population here.

For the 10-day event, female dancers and boxers have been invited over from France and Germany. They will share their passion for dance and sport with the Karachi girls. “Those days will see intense moments of exchanges and meeting between the girls from three countries,” said Mr Winkler.

Goethe-Institut will organise dance workshops while Alliance Francaise will be organising the boxing trainings.

Jean-Loup Rose, Alliance Francaise de Karachi’s deputy director, said he was aware that there were a few boxing clubs in Karachi, especially in Lyari, which were offering trainings for women. “By inviting female French boxers and a French coach, we will organise workshops and trainings in the city. This may also create ties between Pakistani and French clubs,” he said.

“Some of the trainings will take place at Alliance Francaise, some at the Raging Bull Club in Clifton. Then at the end of it all the boxers of both Pakistan and France will decide what they want to do. They may hold exhibition matches if they like, too,” he said, adding that they were looking to take on 40 to 50 girls as participants, who should not be beginners.

Mr Rose also hinted at further intense training for girls who show promise. “Right now we are not sure about the level. If our coach feels that there are some girls whose talent can be nurtured further, this could be a window of opportunity for them. It depends on the Pakistani girl boxers really,” he said.

About the dance workshops, Mr Winkler said that it had little to do with dancing and was more about movement and expression. “We want to involve as many girls as possible. And at the closing event, which will take place on Dec 10, they can share their experiences. They will all be given an opportunity to show what they have learned. I must add here that no participant in the workshops will be obliged to perform. And we will also have a woman disk jockey joining us from Berlin for the finale celebrations,” he said.

Thumbnail image by Reuters

Originally published in Dawn November 29th, 2016