Shadhika Shadhika


“With Shadhika’s support, I am the first girl in our community to go to college.”

– Asiya, young woman of Shadhika

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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   


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   

Making the Shift

July 15, 2020

Whatever our individual life circumstances, it is a safe assumption that we are never going back to the way things were.  First, the novel coronavirus has altered the status quo of human interaction. Even after a vaccine against COVID-19 is successfully created and distributed, epidemiologists agree that the customary use of facemasks and health checks   

An Invitation to FundHER

July 8, 2020

Shadhika’s mission is grounded in my wife Juthica’s original desire to remedy the plight of disenfranchised women in the Non-Criminal Lunatic wing of Calcutta’s prisons. Equipped with her Master’s Degree in Social Work, Juthica’s first job was with the YWCA in Calcutta and one of Juthica’s assignments was to visit women in local prisons, as   

When She Leads: Sanjuckta & Pranjuckta

July 7, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads Under Lockdown series. Learn more. COVID-19 continues to keep the young women of Shadhika isolated from friends, school, and their NGO community centers. In this interview, sisters Sanjuckta and Pranjuckta discuss their experiences since the lockdown and how they’re supporting and encouraging each other. Sanjuckta and   

When She Leads: Mirekha, Navya, Nritha, & Meera

June 29, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads Under Lockdown series. Learn more. COVID-19 continues to keep the young women of Shadhika isolated from friends, school, and their NGO community centers. In this interview, four young women at Baale Mane, our partner site on the outskirts of Bangalore, discuss their experiences since the lockdown   

When She Leads: Parvati

June 22, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads Under Lockdown series. Learn more. As the deadly spread of COVID-19 continues, many young women in India face the prospect of their family migrating away from the city back to their village of origin. Due to the lockdown and loss of income, many families feel this   

COVID-19 Field Update

June 19, 2020

Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, Shadhika raised over $20,000 for our COVID-19 fund to give our partner sites the flexibility to address emerging needs on the ground. Over the last 3 months, India has been under a strict national lockdown, leaving businesses and schools closed and leading to devastating unemployment rates. Our partners listened to the   

When She Leads: Reshma

June 15, 2020

This interview is part of our When She Leads Under Lockdown series. Learn more. Reshma is a third-year Shadhika Scholar pursuing a nursing degree at Rufaida College of Nursing Jamiya Hamdard in Delhi. She is a participant with our grantee partner site, STOP India. Reshma was interviewed by Kendra Nicolai, Shadhika’s U.S.-based Program Officer. Hi   

When She Leads: An Interview Series

June 13, 2020

When She Leads is an interview series celebrating and affirming the young women of Shadhika’s leadership. At Shadhika, we know that “When she leads, change follows” and so, we are excited to bring you first-hand interviews and stories from our young women leaders. When She Leads: From the Front Lines November–December 2020 For our third   

How can grant-makers make a difference?

June 10, 2020

Change is hard. Whether it is a change in our personal relationships or in a job situation. In a moment when change feels particularly needed yet thorny, what can we do as grant-makers to make a difference? I assumed my new position as the world was shaken by the deadly spread of COVID-19 through our   

Shadhika’s Commitment to Racial Justice

June 3, 2020

Shadhika exists to equip girls in India with the skills and confidence to overcome the violence, discrimination, and injustice that deny their human rights. Those rights are inalienable and justice is indivisible. We believe that the fight for gender equity in India is inextricably tied to the fight for racial justice in the U.S. We support   

Welcome 2020 Shadhika Scholars

May 22, 2020

As much of the world has slowed down to manage the spread of COVID-19, the Shadhika Scholars program has steadily continued this year. We are pleased to share our 2020 Shadhika Scholars and about our scholarship program.  Our annual application process begins in March, as young women from our partner sites apply for a chance   

Cyclone Amphan

May 21, 2020

Cyclone Amphan made landfall close to Sundarbans between West Bengal and Bangladesh on Wednesday afternoon, washing away Indian islands to the mainland and uprooting trees and electricity poles in six-and-a-half hours that left Kolkata and most of south Bengal pulverized. Early reports show the cyclone claimed 10 to 12 lives in West Bengal and destroyed over 5,500   

Shadhika’s 2020 Graduates

May 19, 2020

Shadhika is celebrating the graduation of 8 scholars this year! These young women of Shadhika have broken barriers, overcome challenges, and persevered to receive undergraduate degrees that are so well deserved.  This is Shadhika’s third graduating class, who will now join a group of 30 Shadhika Alumnae paving the path for Shadhika’s future. Two graduates   

A Gender-Lens for COVID-19 Response

May 7, 2020

Shadhika is proud to join The Deliver for Good Campaign and over 700 organizations from across 100 countries to advocate for the world’s governments to apply a gender lens and put girls, women, and gender equality at the center of COVID-19 preparedness, response, and recovery. The following is an excerpt from the open letter, which   

Announcing Next Executive Director

May 5, 2020

Dear Friends, In June of last year Kim Burnett, Shadhika’s long time President and CEO, announced to the Board of Directors she would be stepping down this spring. This news was relayed to the Shadhika community in the January 2020 newsletter.  While the board was saddened by this news, we immediately formed a Transition Committee and got   


April 28, 2020

As we all know India is a country of many religions and celebrations. In all the festivals, we show respect to all religions and care for each other. During a festival, we are closer to each other and get the chance to learn more about other cultures and religions. The Ramadan month This year, Ramadan   

Learning Under Lockdown

April 27, 2020

Shadhika’s Making HERstory interns share how they are managing classes while their universities and community centers are closed under lockdown. How have your studies have been affected during the lockdown? Pranjuckta: Studies are affected very badly. The lockdown is breaking the continuity of our days –going to school, coming home, doing homework. Two of my   

Public Toilets: A Daily Risk

April 20, 2020

We all know the current situation in the world. We are all doing our best to follow precautions and maintain social distancing to prevent Covid-19 from spreading. In India, we are on lockdown for so many days and will continue this until May 3. I live in Mumbai, in a slum area. Here, there are   

Working from Home

April 14, 2020

Sabah, a member of Shadhika’s staff, is working from home for the first time during a national lockdown. She lives in Mumbai with her family. The current situation is becoming worse day by day. Everyone here is taking precautions and maintaining social distance. Before I would go to a co-working office, but due to coronavirus   

Covid-19: Working Remotely

April 13, 2020

For many, “going virtual” during the pandemic has been quite easy. In the U.S. we are accustomed to the idea of working remotely, and many businesses and even more universities and schools have adapted to this crisis relatively easily through virtual work and learning. However, in low-income communities where internet can be inconsistent and telecommunications   

Covid-19: Social Distancing

April 7, 2020

What does it really mean to “social-distance” in India, a country with more than 1 billion residents? This week, we asked the young women of Shadhika and our partner sites about their experiences social distancing under lockdown. From the Field A typically crowded and energetic place, the community of Bowbazar in Bengal, where our partner   

Durga: A Young Heart to Help Many

March 31, 2020

Around the world, Covid-19 is everyone’s current situation.  We all are suffering from this virus, but our doctors, public officials, and other front line workers are fighting with coronavirus for us. Shadhika is proud to have an alumnae named Durga, who is a chemist and is working very hard in this dangerous atmosphere. As a   

COVID-19: Hygiene Access

March 30, 2020

This week, the young women we support and our partners shared more about the current climate in India being under a lockdown. A common theme that came through from their reports was a lack of access to proper, preventative hygiene. Wash your hands with our Making HERstory Interns Shadhika’s four Making HERstory interns, Afreen, Pranjuckta,   

We’re In This Together

March 20, 2020

Dear Friends and Supporters of Shadhika – The COVID-19 outbreak has shown all of us how interconnected we are and how small our big world has become. We are seeing how each of our individual actions impact each other– even if we are half a world away. Whether we are in India or the U.S.,   

Visiting America

March 11, 2020

This week, Shadhika and Kiran Anjali Project (KAP) had the pleasure of inviting Navya, a Shadhika Scholar with our partner site Baale Mane in Bangalore, India, to the United States. While Navya’s original itinerary included speaking at Shadhika and KAP fundraisers this week, plans changed due to concerns of health and safety, so we flew   

You Remember My Name

February 20, 2020

It is 4:00am as Sabah and I quietly leave our hotel and arrive at the train station in Kolkata.  This is my first experience in a train station and taking a train in India. Arriving there, we find families sleeping among the hustle and bustle of people going about their travel day.  We board the   


February 3, 2020

Their voices remind me of bravery, their eyes explain pain, and their hearts are looking for freedom. Most of the women in the villages outside the city of Varanasi can be seen working in the green fields. There are always more women than men. Their sarees and the green paddy fields are the real meaning   


January 23, 2020

You see them everywhere. Broken and discarded and thrown into the gutters. Used once, they no longer have value. These are India’s small, handmade clay tea cups, known as bhar, kulhar, or shikora. You find these cups at any street tea stall. Costing only a few rupees, the tea is sweet and milky. Just as   

Leadership Transition

January 7, 2020

Dear Friends of Shadhika, Today we are sharing, with very mixed emotions, the news of an important leadership transition at Shadhika. Kim Burnett, Shadhika’s President and CEO, will be stepping down in June, 2020. While we know that Kim is ready for her next big adventure, and we are truly excited to see what she   

The Time is Right

January 6, 2020

The beginning of a new year or a new decade have always been times of deep reflection for me. This year has been no different. As I take stock of Shadhika’s accomplishments over the past decade and consider the organization’s future, I have made the hard decision that it is time for me to step   


January 4, 2020

They have a secret. They cannot tell you where you live, for fear you will shun them. They cannot tell you about their family, for fear you will judge them. They cannot tell you about their lives, for fear you will betray them. They have a secret. A secret so profound, it has created a   

From a Girls’ Perspective – The Citizenship Amendment Act

January 3, 2020

Many of us have been following the unrest surrounding the passage of India’s Citizenship Amendment Act. We wanted to share the following thoughts on this moment from the perspective of one of the young women we support. We all are one and that’s how we Indians live. Our country is known for being the biggest