"Daily exercise boosts women's self-esteem and teaches them that their own well-being should be their top priority. Women should not get lost in the demands of everyday life and neglect themselves. Engaging in consistent daily exercise strengthens this mindset."
These are the words of Mersedeh Shahinkar, a sports coach who lost an eye on October 15 last year when a member of the armed forces shot at her with a paintball weapon during nationwide protests. IranWire previously published a detailed report on her dramatic experience. Despite enduring a night of terror and spending three months as a refugee, Mersedeh returned to coaching.
The "Ten Sessions of Bodybuilding without Facilities" is a training program that Mersedeh has developed. It includes exercises such as squat with front arm, side push-up, plank, chest press, single-leg deadlift, squat with back arm, side lunge, back plank and dead bug.
Mersedeh always harbored a dream of establishing her own gym and empowering more women through sports. Collaborating with IranWire has become a transformative experience for her. "After my eye injury, I believed I couldn't continue pursuing sports, but now I feel that I’m getting closer to my goal and dream," she says.
Perhaps the armed forces and the commander who targeted the protesters' eyes thought that blinding them would render their forces impotent and ineffective. However, they were unaware that, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, resilience emerges from the depths and spreads its wings to create freedom.
Take the example of Mersedeh, a single mother in the realm of asylum seekers. She now places a shield over her injured eye, takes a deep breath and rebuilds her life. She does so by sharing fitness training videos on IranWire.com.
There's a proverb that states: "There is no strength greater than the strength of a mother." Now, imagine this mother, scarred by her experiences, shouldering the responsibility of taking care of her daughter alone while in the limbo of asylum.
Her eye was taken from her, her life was altered forever, and she was thrust into the world of asylum seekers. Yet, Mersedeh chooses to live and uplift herself and others in the face of oppression and violence.
Doesn't this brief explanation inspire you to challenge yourself, stand alongside Mersedeh and engage in exercise?