This month we were delighted to be facilitators for the next stages of development for the Muslim Girls Fence project. Muslim Girls Fence is a project collaboration between Maslaha and British Fencing which aims to facilitate spaces at a grassroot level for Muslim girls and women to challenge assumptions and narratives relating to their gender, racial, religious and other identities through fencing and the creative arts. Through fencing, they physically confront the stereotypes of fencers, but also the expectations our society has of them: that Muslim women and girls are weak, subordinated and lacking agency.
The Change Foundation were privileged to help Muslim Girls Fence reflect on their six year history, review their successes and challenges and look towards building a new strategy based on experience, insight, passion, drive and a firm foundation of the partnership between British Fencing and Maslaha. The purpose of this development phase is in response to the success of the programme and the changing nature of the sport for development sector, where more targeted work is being recognised as a force for good.
The Change Foundation Director of Design and Impact, Navjeet Sira, who facilitated the workshops said:“The success of the project is undeniable, the insight they have produced is intriguing and thought provoking. They have developed a sector leading example of combining art and sport within fencing sessions, covering themes like mental health, racism, islamophobia, covid-19, low self-esteem, self-love, confidence and self-respect. But now it’s about adaptability and sustainability. There are now Muslim Girls Fence graduates who are coaching and leading the work, there are incredible community partners and there are a network of pioneering Muslim Girls Fence facilitators who have been the soul of the project. We as The Change Foundation are here to help the project step into a new era, continuing to focus on the issues affecting Muslim women and girls today, to further advocate for gender, racial and religious equity and ensure Muslim women and girls own the narrative about their identity. We are excited to join their journey of change.”
If you would like The Change Foundation’s support to design sport for social change programmes or strategies, please contact Navjeet Sira.