At Pratigya Shelter, we have introduced two new ‘life skills’ programmes for the girls. The cookery programme kicked off in July with three afternoons spent learning to make delicious sweet treats. The second of these programmes complements their lessons in food and nutrition nicely, by teaching the girls how to stay fit and healthy through exercise.
A volunteer from the U.K. has been helping them to develop a routine using simple exercises which the girls can perform safely on the open roof-deck at the shelter. Every two weeks, the girls have learned five new exercises, each with a different physical goal, such as cardio health (e.g. running or skipping), core strength (e.g. sit-ups or ‘plank’ position), or coordination (e.g. throwing & catching a ball). Divided into small groups, they do each activity for one minute, before switching onto the next.
Each girl has been given special exercise journal with a page per exercise. Here, they can draw a little diagram to help them remember the exercise as well as make a note of their personal performance: for example, how many skips they did in one minute. This way the girls are encouraged to improve their fitness over time, by working to beat their previous scores.
Physical fitness is sometimes neglected in India, especially for girls and women, for whom running about or taking part in sports can be considered undignified. However at the Pratigya Shelter, we recognise that getting fit is one of the keys to staying well, physically and mentally healthy.
Not only are the girls enjoying their work-out sessions, but they have been an inspiration to others: now several of Pratigya’s staff are determine to get fit too!