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At Shadhika, we know that our most important and inspiring assets are the people who make up our organization.

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Please join us in welcoming Lakshmi Krishnan, Vanessa Chauhan, and Uma Iyer to the Shadhika Board of Directors.

At Shadhika, we know that our most important and inspiring assets are the people who make up our organization. We are thrilled to welcome our new boards members who will expand our leadership with new perspectives and strengthen our committed Board of Directors in order to navigate the continued uncertainty in 2021 with steadfast conviction in our mission.

Lakshmi is an action-oriented philanthropist with deep experience in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and nonprofit program management for mission-oriented organizations. In her current role at Benevity, she works with many fortune 500 companies to help manage their grantmaking programs through the use of technology. She has a passion for women empowerment, using education as the ticket to a better life. Shadhika’s partner-driven grassroots approach helps her connect to her roots in India.


Vanessa is an independent subject matter consultant with 15 years of expertise working on issues of human trafficking and gender-based violence. She has acquired a unique speciality in creating highly customized, intensive training and consulting engagements to develop effective, sustainable, multi-disciplinary and survivor-centered responses to these crimes. Vanessa brings her empowerment and feminist-driven passion for social justice and equity to Shadhika and its program constituents and stakeholders. Vanessa is originally from Zambia and currently resides in Frankfort, KY. She loves to travel and eat her way around the world.


Uma Mehta Iyer is a social impact strategist and data-driven storyteller with almost two decades of experience working in brand management, marketing, strategic communications, and revenue generation. Currently Vice President for Marketing & Communications at the National Women’s Law Center, Ms. Iyer oversees media relations and digital and field organizing strategies, manages crisis communications, and leads efforts to build the organization’s national brand visibility. Prior to joining NWLC, Ms. Iyer spent her career working to advance gender equality, public health, and civic engagement, and has spoken across the country on issues of youth engagement, gender equality, and social impact. She studied Political Science and Economics at the University of Houston, and resides in Washington, DC with her family.

Learn more about the Shadhika team and board.

New Board Members

November 25, 2020

Please join us in welcoming Lakshmi Krishnan, Vanessa Chauhan, and Uma Iyer to the Shadhika Board of Directors. At Shadhika, we know that our most important and inspiring assets are the people who make up our organization. We are thrilled to welcome our new boards members who will expand our leadership with new perspectives and   

The Transformative Power of Female Leadership

What is female leadership? By definition, it is a style of leadership that is grounded in the full expression of female attributes, based in authentic communications, collaboration, and care for others. Female leadership emphasizes personal and professional development. Therefore, by nature, female leadership is intrinsically transformational and our new interview series, When She Leads: From   

Giving Tuesday 2020

Our Theory of Change Shadhika’s mission is to inspire a culture shift in India by ensuring every young woman is empowered to realize her full potential. At the core of Shadhika’s theory of change is our investment in the potential of the girl to create a groundswell of change through a lifetime of action. Put   

Virtual Leaders for Change Summit

November 24, 2020

The 2020 Leaders for Change Summit was one to remember! This year rather than an in-person, 4-day event in India, due to the pandemic we had to pivot to a virtual platform. Our team creatively planned three days of leadership activities for our Shadhika Scholars all via WhatsApp, a free texting platform where all participants could   

When She Leads: Sonali

This interview is part of our When She Leads: From the Front Lines series. Learn more. Sonali is a Community Organizer in Sanjay Nagar & Project Coordinator of Shadhika After School Programs for Sanjay Nagar and Shelar communities with our partner site Vacha in Maharashtra. Sonali was interviewed by Program Officer Kendra Nicolai and Donor & Program Associate Sabah   

From the Field: October 2020

October 21, 2020

As we near the end of October, our Shadhika team and partners reflected on the multitude of ways we have transitioned and adapted all in-person programming and communication to virtual platforms since March 2020. Indeed, our collective global society is more and more accustomed to the reality of virtual conferences, training, lectures, classrooms, and even   

The Real Cost: Denying Intersectional Gender Justice

October 15, 2020

Over the last few months and into next year, the experts are clear: Special attention must be paid to girl-centered issues in order to mitigate the regressive effects of the pandemic on gender equity around the world. For instance, the lack of access to menstrual hygiene still holds girls and women back. In India and   

Strength & Confidence

October 14, 2020

All young women deserve equal access to education and an opportunity to determine the exact circumstances of their lives. As an educated accomplished woman, I feel it is my responsibility to lift the next generation to dream big dreams and achieve their fullest potential in India and around the globe.  Shadhika’s work and mission are opening   

When She Leads: Swati

September 28, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Back to School series. Learn more. Swati is a rising 12th grade student who plans to pursue a Bachelor’s of Medicine to become a medical doctor. She is a program participant and a Grade 11-12 Shadhika Scholar with our partner site Vacha in Maharashtra. Swati was interviewed by Program Officer   

The Gift of Education

September 27, 2020

What a difference a year makes – one year ago we were excitedly planning our first trip to India with our children.  I’d grown up visiting family in India every few years and the impression it left on me was both of a rich culture that connected me to my roots and also of a   

When She Leads: Priyanka

September 24, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Back to School series. Learn more. Priyanka is a rising Shadhika Scholar who plans to pursue a Bachelor’s of Legislative Law towards a career as a Civil Judge. She is a program participant with our partner site Milaan in Uttar Pradesh. Priyanka was interviewed by Program Officer Kendra Nicolai and   

When She Leads: Geeta

September 18, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Back to School series. Learn more. Geeta is a rising Shadhika Scholar who plans to pursue a degree in Business Management. She is a program participant with our partner site Vacha in Maharashtra. Geeta was interviewed by Program Officer Kendra Nicolai and Donor & Program Associate Sabah Siddiqui. Press play   

From the Field: September 2020

September 17, 2020

In August 2020, as India celebrated it’s 74th Independence Day, the central government announced they would increase the legal age of marriage for Indian women from 18 years to 21 years with the hope of halting issues related to the age of motherhood, maternal mortality rates and child nutritional levels. The existing law, “The Prohibition   

The Technology Divide

September 16, 2020

It is undeniable that the spread of the coronavirus is pulling the curtain back on the most severe inequalities around the world and exacerbating their impact on the most marginalized. The anecdotal evidence and early data paint a grim picture of the compounding effects of COVID on existing vulnerabilities affecting women and girls in India.   

When She Leads: Mangala

September 9, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Back to School series. Learn more. Mangala is a rising Shadhika Scholar and plans to pursue a degree in Teaching & Education. She is a program participant with our partner site Baale Mane in Karnataka. Mangala was interviewed by Program Officer Upasana Saha and Marketing & Program Associate Vaishu Manjunath.   

Scholarships & Pen Pals

September 3, 2020

Have you ever been so moved that you just had to do something? That’s exactly what happened to me when I was first introduced to Shadhika’s work in India. We all have causes that pull at our heart strings or touch us personally. For me, it’s always been children and especially those who are disadvantaged   

When She Leads: Tajdina

September 1, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Back to School series. Learn more. Tajdina is a second year Shadhika Scholar pursuing her degree in Nursing. She is a program participant with our partner site Jabala in West Bengal. Tajdina was interviewed by Program Officer Kendra Nicolai and Donor & Program Associate Sabah Siddiqui. Press play to hear   

In Pursuit of Gender Equality

August 27, 2020

In July, Shadhika started sharing blogs from our board members. In their own words, Susan and Lisa expressed why they are serving on our board and what their respective vision is for the organization and our program participants. The series will continue into the fall, so keep an eye out for those blogs! In the   

From the Field: August 2020

August 13, 2020

With nearly 370,000 known COVID-19 cases and over 12,000 related deaths, India is in Phase I of re-opening the country after nearly 3 months of strict national lockdown. This means that places of worship and select hospitality businesses–including shopping malls–are allowed to be open while respecting social distancing precautions. Whether or not the country will   

Transformation

August 6, 2020

When women–all women–share equitably in the economic, political and social leadership of our world, so much of what we hope for–equality, peace, climate justice, healthy democracies, healthy and educated people, to name a few–are transformed.   This is why I support Shadhika, and believe in our mission with all my heart.  Our world’s largest democracies   

Empowered Women

July 22, 2020

Educated, empowered women transform the world. That’s why I am so passionate about Shadhika’s mission. There is nothing like seeing the excitement girls bring to the opportunity of going to school and completing their education—an opportunity often denied to them and reserved for their brothers. Their excitement is a palpable hunger for school subjects, but