Published: 07th January 2019
This twelfth grader from Chennai is training government school students in Karate, to defend themselves
Prithvi Chabria is currently studying in The International School Bangalore. All the lessons are offered for free
On a sunny day in March, Prithvi Chhabria was flipping through the pages of the newspaper when a particular piece of news caught his eye. It was an article based on crime data which stated that 108 cases of rape are reported every day in India and 40 per cent of the victims are minors. Startled by the numbers and the sad state of safety, the 17-year-old decided to do something about it. A Karate black belt, Prithvi, along with his Karate master Kannan R, decided to go to government schools and train the students in the Japanese martial art form for free, empowering them to defend themselves.
Ten months down the line, Prithvi and Kannan have managed to achieve what they set out to do in an organised manner. They run an organisation called Empower that gives free Karate lessons to government school students. Currently, the teacher-student duo trains around 200 students in two government schools in Chennai. “We teach Karate as a subject to government school students. Right now, we are coaching sixth to eighth graders. Next, we’re planning to expand it to another 4-5 schools. We’re even been approved by the Education Department of the Corporation of Chennai,” says Prithvi, who has been practising Karate for the past nine years.
He adds that setting up Empower was a smooth journey altogether, except for a few hurdles on the way. While he planned everything in March, they were able to start classes only in June. “The whole process of getting approval from the government was a bit tedious. It took a bit of time to get it running and get proper funding. But right now, it is all smooth sailing,” he says confidently. The Karate student and his master started out by approaching a few teachers in the neighbouring schools to find out what they thought about the idea. “Everyone we spoke to was very welcoming. Once we got a lot of positive responses, we took it to the Education Department. They were also very receptive and gave us permission to start the classes,” explains Prithvi. His parents too were very supportive and they played a key role in helping him find the right sponsors.
A Chennaiite, Prithvi is currently a class XII student at The International School Bangalore. However, he travels to his city quite often and makes it a point to attend as many sessions as possible. “I’m lucky that my school follows the IB programme. That helps me juggle between school work and Karate,” says Prithvi, “Whenever I can, I come down to Chennai.” Prithvi is now keen on expanding the programme to more schools in the city and already has a few volunteers who are helping him out.
Reach Out: theempowerorg.com