Boxing always delivers a great workout: It’s a cardio-intensive sport that requires a combination of agility, precision and conditioning (not to mention an outlet for some weekday frustration). And hey, even supermodels love it. But what’s blowing us away in the ring right now has nothing to do with the latest big-city trends. Instead, it’s a group of women using the sport as a means for social change.
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In 2008, a group of women in Kenya decided to do something about the rampant sexual violence women in their country were facing. They didn’t just want to respond to the violence, they wanted to learn how to fight back, too — which is exactly why Boxgirls International was launched. According to the organization, its mission is to “use boxing as a catalyst for social change” while “making girls stronger – both inside and outside the ring.” With that new self-assurance, these women can take those skills and improve their strength and resilience, while advancing further in their schooling, families and careers.
Now 1,200 girls in the Nairobi area are members of Boxgirls International, learning the art of self-defense while also growing their own confidence. Plus, the organization has launched two international chapters located in Berlin and South Africa. To learn more, Vice’s Broadly, a women’s-interest site, spent a day with the Boxgirls Nairobi team to find out how the sport has helped build hope in a city that’s been devastated by violence in the past.
In the five-minute video below, prepare to be inspired by the coaches, athletes and members of Boxgirls International — they might just make you want to get into the ring yourself. In fact, don’t be surprised if you have the urge to try out this UFC-inspired workout or sign up for a cool kickboxing class. Or, you can donate to Boxgirls International here. Why not do both? Because it’s Monday — and you can do anything, right? After all, that’s the thinking behind Boxgirls International: that yes, yes we can.