Seema Azimi is an Afghan woman who now teaches Wushu in Kabul, Afghanistan in an effort to challenge the widespread gender bias in the country.
Two years ago, she set up the club named “Shaolin” in Kabul with her father’s help after learning the martial art in Iran.
Azimi, currently the club’s only teacher, trains her students once a week on the top of the hill during winter.
There are currently 20 Afghan female trainees learning the Chinese martial art under her guidance.
Most of the girls are students, with the eldest girl among them being 20 years old, while the youngest is 13.
“In the beginning when I opened my private club two years ago to teach Wushu, no girl dared to come,” Azimi said. “But gradually the number increased, and at present 20 girls have joined the club to practice the art of self-defense.”
In Afghanistan, girls are not allowed to practice exercises in public areas, and Azimi is hoping this changes in the near future.
“My prime objective is to see equality ensured between women and men in Afghanistan and therefore I am calling upon all girls to break down the cultural barriers and join me in promoting Wushu to achieve the noble goal,” she said.
Shaolin Wushu, which was developed in the Buddhist Shaolin temple in Henan province, China, is among the oldest institutionalized styles of Chinese martial artsSha.