I have been extremely fortunate to have come across and met some amazing females in my time. One of those ladies who has been extremely influential in the world of women's wrestling and combat, is Jazzy Green. Jazzy grew up in wrestling and has transferred her experience and athleticism to teaching wrestling, jiu-jitsu, krav-maga, and self defense.
When she first moved to Oregon from California, she planned to assimilate herself into the world of food and nutrition. But something continued to pull her back to movement. She knew her strongest skills were in movement education, so she continued to hone her teaching skills. By working with diverse populations of people with diverse body types and needs, Jazzy found how impactful self defense has been on all levels.
Not only has she been able to impact others, she found that those students have helped change her own life. She realized she could spread her impact to other parts of the world. She says, "over the years, I have gotten respect from the people I train with, and I always have the mentality of 'heck yes I can do this, why not?'"
When Jazzy began traveling, she discovered the situations that marginalized people face each day. One of those countries in particular was South Africa. Throughout the culture, the mentality towards the treatment of women, teens, girls, and disenfranchised groups is extremely abusive. It is an extremely patriarchal society that leads to oppression, lack of education, misinformation, and an extremely backwards view on human rights. She saw that the people of South Africa needed something beyond therapy... they needed security.
Jazzy has teamed up with Krysti Adamich, a skilled educator in nutrition. She is well versed in cooking skills, farming and home gardening, food storage, breastfeeding education, and how to maintain clean water access. While in South Africa, Krysti will also be working with the local restaurants on how food remnants can be redistributed to those in need or used as compost.
This dynamic duo is calling their project, Vital Defense International. They will be partnering with the Aluwani Foundation, who already serves in these rural areas with drop in centers that support teenage girls and orphaned children with a cooked meal, homework assistance, opportunities to clean their clothing, and emotional support with a safe place to play and learn.
Speaking with Jazzy about her project, I became amazed and aware that these two ladies are creating something spectacular, and doing it virtually on their own. "They have never seen a women doing what I will be able to show them," Jazzy stated. They will have support from local organizations to get them access to the people, but otherwise must follow their own path. In order to create a positive and self-sustaining self defense and nutrition education program in South Africa, they are creating it from nothing.
The two women are using their personal savings to keep them in South Africa for 2 months. Their needs consist of costs to travel to South Africa, renting a car to get to the villages, gear for training sessions, hiring translators, housing, medical, and kitchenware. They have been fundraising through the website Generosity (click to see an amazing video on Jazzy teaching self defense!!). If they meet their fundraising goal of $15k, they will be able to stay in South Africa for four months. Thanks to amazing organizations like Society Nine and their donation, Vital Defense International has a large portion of their training gear covered! THIS is the amazing example of female companies empowering other females to do great work!
Moving forward, the plan is to pinpoint South Africans taking their classes who excel, and educate them on how to teach others to continue the program within their community. This will need funding to sustain the new teachers long term, and possibly even create a full time job that helps impact a community with a 40% unemployment rate.
It is so incredibly selfless of these women to see the needs of others and create a solution for that need. This is seriously a bad a$$ project and I can't wait to see everything they accomplish!
It is important to disrupt the status quo when it takes away these rights for any sect of a community. These wrongdoings must not be ignored for the future health of communities around the world. That is why we are working with women who have found themselves stuck in a cycle of rape with no way to see beyond their current situation. Without changing their overall culture, we can accomplish immediate safety.