Change Makers

Know the Positive Strength to fight the negative strength


Pooja DS, a first-year engineering student swoops in her fantasy world and turns to a wonder woman in reality, making a real change within today’s woman.

Every day is all about the dawn and sunrise with a new hour of running society and running humans all around. Humans are just of the two kinds one called as men and the other a woman. Where one creation called men unveil the power and strength, the other called woman exhibit the responsibility and beauty of her own living. But with every aspect of living there come some mishaps and dangers. And today the major victim for this jeopardy is “Woman”.

Where a bright world expresses today’s girl to be strong against woman harassment, sexual assault, eve-teasing and many such problems, the other dark world is waiting for breaking that thought in no time. Realizing that the anxiety of being trapped in such major issues increasing day by day, Pooja DS takes a stand for this.


A girl with peaceful nature, powerful vision and intellectual balance named Pooja DS from Chitradurga led a common life. Secondary schooling led her to the path of Engineering and she focused on the same. The soothing nature of Pooja reflected in her interests and her hobbies. Writing poetry is one of her favorite pass time which she believes makes her know herself. She believes that her poetry would bring more effect if it was in her mother tongue, Kannada. She is not only mentally so sorted but has also physically set a mark. Playing volleyball is also her major interest and she represented her school in this sport.

College life taught this girl many realities. From social media to the banners in collegecccc_1448157746, she always came across ban on ragging and woman harassment. But there always was a story to headlines every other day which spoke about sexual harassment, eve teasing, and rapes. Where few girls feared the chances of being the victim, Pooja was concerned about this trouble and its solution.

She always thought about social issues but was in dilemma of taking a stand for it. She was restless about the entire womanhood within her radius and beyond. But she wasn’t aware of the way she could take a stand. But the question was “How?”.


Back in December 2017, Pooja got a chance, where she saw the hope of change through the Deshpande Foundation’s LEAD. LEAD who is working under the pure motive of making a better India helped Pooja know her chance of making the change. Pooja’s conjecture about woman safety was that she merely thought, “Every girl needs to know her strength and also needs to know in a panic situation how well she can handle and rescue herself. I don’t want girls to fear to walk and talk alone”.

With the guidance of Ms.Tanveer, Pooja signed up for a project. She came downlisting the ways how a girl can be physically smart during the times of danger. She started her mission with a master plan. She finally decided to strengthen the base and arrange for “SELF DEFENCE” for the schooling girls. To start with she approached a school with the idea to teach self-defense to the girls to give a basic overview of this art of sustaining the cruel world.


At the first attempt, Pooja with her team Amulya.V, Abhigna and Manoj BL and a trained coach Mr.Dhawan reached a school, where around 200 girls were present to know and learn the knowledge that was boxed up for them.

It wasn’t as easy as thought because the main problem faced was to convince the crowd how important it is to learn self-defense. The whole session was not only for the girls to learn but also for the boys to know what their responsibilities are. This self-defense session went on successfully and was appreciated by the crowd.

This year Pooja joined LEAD Prayana 2018, where the amazing experience and the astonishing speakers fed her with the silver spoon of motivation. The award ceremony of Yuva Summit 2018 was an eye opener for her. When she saw the best of best projects being awarded she thought that hers was equally worth if she starts working on it more.

No wonder by now she was LEADer Pooja who knew what is to be done for the betterment. From being called with Pooja to LEADer Pooja was one small step of satisfaction and pride for her. Now her goal was clear and straight.


From the crowd of 200 in a single school, Pooja set her journey of teaching self-defense to many more schools around. As it is said that, “To give knowledge to others, you yourself should excel in the same”, Pooja took this as a challenge and started learning self-defense with her team as she knew that this skill was to be shared in future to many.

Today Pooja covers around 12-15 schools helping 1200 girls learn self-defense. This huge number was so appreciating and encouraged more girls to zip down their own safety themselves. With funding and support by LEAD, Pooja was now called the KARATE KID of her area. Pooja now has covered up around 75% of high schools in Chitradurga and aims for more.


IMG_20180424_223501Considering her nature and social contacts, convincing a humongous crowd, the importance of Self Defense was not an easy task for Pooja. But a willful behavior helps you reach your way. Pooja did not stop anyway. With the support of her Family, principal, and well-wishers she got into this learning and teaching process against all the odds. She confidently addressed the crowd and helped them know how important it is to be strong individually.

Another challenge for Pooja was to handle her academics and work together. But she managed to take the sessions during weekends and off days. With her principal’s support, she dealt well with the curriculum and co-curriculum.

Her principal was well impressed by her social concern and growth and he said, “Equality is must, in all ways both the boys and the girls need to stand for their own safety. Now that I see my students are united irrespective of gender, I am sure this Self defense help will reach the maximum.”


Leadership qualities and great communication skills were the major give away from this projected journey. Pooja is now a confident girl and bold enough to smash down any sexual assault and eve teasing symptoms. Her skills in Self defense have more and more improved making her mentally and physically strong.

LEAD has given her the opportunity where she got a chance to discover herself and know her strengths. The pity little Pooja is now the strength to many girls and facing a huge crowd is no more a big deal for her. She was awarded “WOMEN’S WELFARE” award at LEAD Valedictory 2018- Davangere for her great work for womanhood. This boosted her more to grab the chance of reaching the maximum.

She is now more patient and energized girl, she never thought she would be. Her communication skills have improved to the level of greatness. Her proud parents said, “Having a single daughter is the world’s best gift. Pooja has made us proud and she is turning an inspiration to many, that’s what makes her independent by thoughts”.2018-04-08_08-15-14

Beneficiaries left no chance to appreciate what she is doing. One of the school girls happily expressed, “I am inspired and I am finding this self-defense so worth”. Yet another mutual opinion by the learners and the teachers in schools was a big hit for her. They said, “Just one session isn’t enough, we need practice so that we turn as confident as you. Please make this a regularly scheduled session for all of us”.


This journey of Pooja has set many of the milestones to cross in future. Pooja aims to reach more villages around Chitradurga. Few of the villages that this team is working are Turuvanuru, Chitraalli etc surrounding Chitradurga.


She is now aiming higher as she has taken over a new idea for girl’s safety that is she is coming up tracking device specially made for girls safety. The future awaits her great and bigger footsteps and welcomes her to brighter reality.

Written by-Rasika A.Mangale

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