Namaste and welcome to Shadhika!
Shadhika means “a girl with aspirations” in Bengali. Our mission is to invest in the education, empowerment, and economic self-sufficiency of girls in India in order to change India’s future.
Thank you for your interest in Shadhika!
In December 2013, Shadhika President Kim Burnett, Board Member Janet Gray, and Shadhika volunteer Kathelene Weiss, spent four weeks in India visiting existing and potential grantees*. As part of the visit, we delivered over 100 books that Shadhika donors had provided to expand the libraries of our existing grantees.
In Varanasi, we met with the young women who are receiving full scholarships to secondary school through Shadhika’s grant to Buddha’s Smile School. It was an emotional experience to meet these exceptional young women from the ‘Dalit’ (untouchable) caste who are fighting against a culture that does not recognize the value of girls or their need for a full education.
In Kolkata, we spent time at New Light, which included a visit to Sonar Tori, a home for young women ages 18 – 25 who have finished secondary school and are now pursuing college, careers, or vocational training. Like the girls at BSS, it was inspirational to see the resilience of these young women who have overcome extreme challenges after childhood in the red light district.
Outside of Kolkata, we met the new Director of Monimala, who takes over from the founders who retired at the end of 2013. With this new leadership, Monimala, which serves a very poor migrant community, is in process of re-organizing their operations. We will follow their work closely in 2014 as this develops.
Additionally, Shadhika’s founder, Juthica Stangl, joined our President for a visit to Paripurnata, a half way house for women who have endured homelessness as a result of mental illness and domestic violence. Juthica helped found Paripurnata in 1992 and Shadhika continues to support their work as part of our Founders’ Legacy program. During the visit, we met with former residents who shared stories of how their stay at Paripurnata had transformed their lives.
This year, because of increased support from our donors, Shadhika is able to expand the number of grantees it serves. As part of that effort, Shadhika visited eight potential grantees in Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai, and Hyderabad. Shadhika is now considering grant proposals from three new organizations based on those visits. Final decisions will be announced in our summer newsletter.
We were inspired and strengthened by the courageous and innovative work our grantees are doing to address gender inequality and help connect girls to opportunities. It also convinced us that there is more work to be done, and a number of worthy organizations out there who could use our support. With your help, our plan is to continue to increase our resources to meet these needs so that more and more girls have a chance to realize their aspirations for a better life.
*All expenses paid by participants