Sara Cox has opened up about the incredible young girls she met during a recent visit to Kenya. The TV presenter travelled to the slums of Nairobi where she was shown how girls are fighting violence against women, and using boxing as a means to stand up for themselves. Writing in this week's HELLO! magazine out now, Sara told more of the knockout scheme, Boxgirls, a project funded by Comic Relief that teaches girls aged eight to 18 how to box.
Read more in this week's issue of HELLO! magazine out now.
"When we arrive it's clear that learning how to jab is only part of the story," Sara writes in her HELLO! column. "The girls were once shy and timid but are now confident and eager to share their experiences. Through boxing they have learnt self-discipline and are being taught that they're in control of their bodies and 'No means no'."
Mum-of-three Sara spent the day with Elsie, a "bright 12-year-old who speaks incredible English and has a smile that could melt Antarctica, who tells me hair-raising stories that no young girl should know". Sara wrote: "I have a 12-year-old daughter and we talk a lot about personal safety on the street and public transport; about sexting, the Internet and, like the girls at Boxgirls, that 'No means no'. But the dangers the young women in the slums face is next level. Elsie says they have 'three big locks' on the door to her shack."
She continued: "It's a testament to the success of Boxgirls that when I chat to a group of girls – whose average age is 12 – they tell me their plans to become doctors, surgeons and scientists. Boxgirls is empowering a new generation – and future generations – to break the cycle of early pregnancy, HIV and poor education and to blossom into strong, independent and ambitious African women."
Inspired by the girls she met on her trip, Sara is taking on the challenge of a 24-hour eighties-themed danceathon ahead of Red Nose Day. On Monday 20 March, the DJ will be slipping on her brightest legwarmers and attempt to throw eighties-inspired shapes, non-stop, to raise cash for Comic Relief that will help change lives in the UK and across Africa. Follow Sara's Sounds of the 80s Danceathon for Red Nose Day on BBC Radio 2 on Monday 20 March.
For more information and how to donate, visit rednoseday.com.