Lotus Flower

How boxing is giving refugee women a fighting chance.

The Lotus Flower is a charity supporting women displaced by violence in northern Iraq with a training schedule of sewing, hairdressing, human rights…and boxing.

Fighting as a pastime in a region that wrestles with conflict might seem counter-intuitive. But the women involved are throwing punches for their right to lives lived beyond rudimentary refugee camps. From London, Taban Shoresh founded The Lotus Flower, a charity supporting women displaced by violence in northern Iraq. “The ‘why’ was so strong in me that I didn’t even worry about the ‘how’,” she says, reflecting on the 2016 launch.

The charity gives women an education and lessons in sewing, hairdressing, human rights. And boxing. “Some of the women there lost family to the violence; many are victims of rape, sexual slavery and abduction,” says Shoresh, 35. “Their freedom of movement is restricted and they have next to no protection against sexual violence.”

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