Karate's contribution to society showcased at presentation of "Guardian Girls Karate" Project in Morocco
Karate’s programme against Gender-Based Violence, the “Guardian Girls Global Karate Project” was presented Saturday at the residence of the Ambassador of Japan to Morocco, Mr Hideaki Kuramitsu.
The project was unveiled in Rabat (Morocco) by its three global creators, the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) and the World Karate Federation (WKF) with the cooperation of the Embassy of Japan in Morocco and the Royal Moroccan Karate Federation, on the occasion of the 2023 Karate 1-Premier League in Rabat.
Hosted by Ambassador Kuramitsu, the event was also attended by the representative of UNFPA Morocco Mr Yassine Souidi, KIF Global President Ms. Nia Lyte, the Secretary General of the Royal Moroccan Karate Federation Ms Bouchra Lakhal, the Chief of Service of the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication Ms Hayat Tedmiri, the Director of Women Ms. Salma Tazi, the Adviser to the Minister of Ministry of Solidarity, Social Integration and Family Mr. Abdelahad Benhallam, and WKF President Mr. Antonio Espinós, among other officials.
Ambassador Kuramitsu said:
“I'm deeply honoured to host this presentation, as Karate is one of the most popular Japanese martial arts among all generations in Morocco. Karate is not merely a martial art, but also a training method of self-discipline that has been practised for a long time by Japanese people." At the end of his remark, he said: "Allow me to introduce two sayings from the Japanese Master Gichin Funakoshi. He says karate is a lifelong puirsuit, meaning that karate requires a lifetime training, but he also said that Karate does not belong only in the dojo. I interpret this phrase as Karate is for everybody, regardless of gender, age, and circumstances. I hope that the lessons given today at the seminar will last in the minds of the beneficiaries as an asset that they practice or utilize in their life in their own way.”
WKF President Antonio Espinós highlighted Karate's values during his remarks.
The Secretary General of the Royal Moroccan Karate Federation Ms Bouchra Lakhal said:
“We think that the practice of Karate can play a key role in helping women protect themselves and build self-esteem and confidence, as well as to promote gender equality and women's rights. These social issues deserve our full attention. According to a report from the Ministry of Family and Social Solidarity, more than half of women in Morocco are subject to violence. The activities being held here are very useful since they include many forums and workshops for women and young women to learn how to handle cases of violence and build confidence and self-esteem “
The representative of UNFPA Morocco Mr Yassine Souidi said:
“This initiative was launched by UNFPA, the Koyamada International Foundation and the World Karate Federation, and UNFPA has joined this initiative to empower girls and young women to overcome gender-based violence. We believe that empowering girls and young women is crucial to ending gender-based violence. And we believe that Karate training can be a powerful tool for achieving these goals. Sports encourage people to grow and help end barriers that divide gender and build bridges to connect cultures. From these standpoints, UNFPA seeks to promote the use of sports in activities related to population and reproductive health issues”
From left to right: KIF President Nia Lyte, Ambassador of Japan to Morocco Hideaki Kuramitsu, WKF Head Instructor Amy Connell, and WKF General Secretary Toshihisa Nagura
WKF President Antonio Espinó said:
“The Guardian Girls Karate Project is a crucial step in the integration of Karate into society. Karate is already deeply integrated with society, but this is a further step in demonstrating Karate’s value to the community. We are dedicating immense work, care, interest, and energy to this project, and I'm sure that after this year, with the six legs of the programme, we will be able to consolidate the Guardian Girls Karate Project even more. We have big plans for 2024 and further, and I'm sure that the strengthening of the programme that we will achieve in 2023 will serve to continue incorporating this project into all levels of society. We must be optimistic because this project has a bright future.”
The presentation included a review of the highlights of the programme, which was hosted by the President of KIF Nia Lyte. Ms Lyte said: “The statistics are shocking. One in three women is subjected to violence at least once in their lifetime. This programme was created to empower women all over the world and I, as president of KIF, could not be happier to be here with all of you today.”
Created by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, the Koyamada International Foundation (KIF) and the World Karate Federation (WKF), the Guardian Girls Global Karate Project aims at promoting gender equality and empowering women and girls to defend themselves from all forms of Gender-Based Violence through Karate training.
Learn More about the Guardian Girls Karate initiative HERE
Ambassador of Japan to Morocco Hideaki Kuramitsu
(Top picture: From left to right: Representative of UNFPA Morocco Yassine Souidi, WKF President Antonio Espinós, Ambassador of Japan to Morocco Hideaki Kuramitsu, KIF Global President Nia Lyte, the Secretary General of the Royal Moroccan Karate Federation Bouchra Lakhal, WKF General Secretary Toshihisa Nagura, and the Chief of Service of the Ministry of Youth, Culture and Communication Hayat Tedmiri)