LUSAKA, Oct. 18 (Xinhua) -- Violence against women and girls remains one of the main challenges confronting communities in Zambia.
It is for this reason that some younger women and girls have decided to take up martial art-centered sports to defend themselves in the event that they are attacked physically.
To this end, Tong-il-Moo-Do, which is a combination of various martial arts has become popular among adolescent girls in Lusaka, the capital of Zambia.
Among those that have and continue to benefit from this sport is 20-year-old Nathalie Chitalu, a resident of Lusaka who explained that the sport has helped her to counter physical attacks.
Chitalu said she decided to register for Tong-il-Moo-Do classes because she had been a victim of harassment and that the sport offered her a chance to learn how to protect herself from physical violence.
"I live in an area where there are many rowdy young men who spend most of their productive time drinking alcohol. When intoxicated, they would often ask for the mobile phone numbers of girls and when a girl refuses to give in to their demands, they become angry and violent," Chitalu said.
"Aside from offering protection from aggressors, the sport also teaches one self-disciplined and encourages individuals to live in harmony with others," said an elated Chitalu, who has actively participated in Tong-il-Moo-Do for four months now.
And 15-year-old girl Rachael Muyoyo, who started Tong-il-Moo-Do lessons a few weeks ago said the sport is helping to build her self-esteem and giving her the courage to speak out about violence against girls.
"The trainings are also enabling me to assertive and not allow boys or other people to bully me. I have also learned to be calm and to think rationally," Muyoyo said.
Zambia Tong-il-Moo-Do Federation Chairperson Kouame Dieudonne Bohoussou revealed that the number of young people in Zambia wishing to participate in the sport is growing.
"We have had over 300 youths participate in the sport since it was introduced in Zambia in 2018 under the auspices of Family Federation for World Peace. About one-quarter of the number are female participants," Bohoussou said.
He also stated that the federation is offering Tong-il-Moo-Do lessons for free to vulnerable youths and communities in Zambia.