Tanvi's Story: Punches, Kicks and Self-Discovery

Uma and Krishnan Chidambaram have been Pratham supporters since 2014, when they were introduced to the organization by a friend. Last fall, they decided to visit a Pratham program during their family trip to India. They wanted to witness our work firsthand and meet some of the children whose lives they help transform.

Inspired to make a deeper connection, their sixteen-year-old daughter, Tanvi, suggested the idea of hosting a workshop. “I have been doing taekwondo for twelve years,” she explains. “It initially began as a pastime but quickly changed into my passion.” Earlier this month, after a few months of planning, she finally had the opportunity to share this passion with a group of ten- and eleven-year-old girls in a Pratham program for children 3-14 at a government-run school in Bangalore.

“I was worried whether they would like me, or listen to me, or even want to learn taekwondo,” the Houston native admits. “All of these thoughts left my mind the instant I saw their faces when I stepped out of the car. They were eager to learn, excited to hear about this new concept called ‘taekwondo.’ But most of all, they were accepting and invited me into their homes with open arms.”

The three-day workshop in June focused on three main aspects of the Korean martial art: punches, kicks and self-defense. “Taekwondo has brought me confidence, taught me discipline, and given me power,” says Tanvi. “I believe these qualities are qualities that every child should have the opportunity to learn, especially girls.

Initially concerned that the language barrier would hinder the learning process, Tanvi soon realized that the martial art itself is what would bond them: “They pushed me out of my comfort zone, eventually pushing me to speak Tamil with them, as I pushed them to truly engage with the power they hold within themselves.”

For Tanvi, leading the course in India was more rewarding than monetary support. “Donation is one part of this process,” she acknowledges. “However, being able to physically see what the money is put into and the lives it affects is another.”

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