More than ever, Shadhika has our eyes firmly set on our vision to see an India that puts women and girls at the center of policy change and solutions in order to create a more equal, more prosperous society.
Making the Shift
By My Lo Cook, Executive Director
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 before entering physical facilities are expected to continue. Whenever people resume normal activities, they will do them differently.
Simultaneously, in the U.S. and around the world, there is a social reckoning on the horizon that is reminiscent of seismic cultural events that have defined generations. At the end of this global self-examination, we will hopefully look and experience our workplaces, our communities, and our very identities through a fairer, more empathetic prism.
As we struggle to imagine this new reality and attempt to plan for the unknown, I am heartened by the permanence of our partners’ commitment and of our program participants’ grit.
Collectively, our partners continue to put the young women of Shadhika at the center of their COVID-19 mitigation strategies. By distributing packages of much needed material support to the program participants’ families, many of our partners are alleviating urgent survival needs while creating leadership opportunities for the girls to organize and execute those relief efforts. During those visits, their staff are also able to provide emotional and mental health support to those families and to cultivate parental support for their daughters to return to school whenever it reopens.
Individually, each young woman featured in our new interview series, When She Leads, is demonstrating she can be a powerful role model to others and an agent of change, even under the dire circumstances of the lockdown in India. They lean on each other for courage and they propel one another forward with resilience and conviction.
So, at Shadhika, we recognize that our path forward is not black or white, but rather a thoughtful and courageous stance. We must adapt to the tidal change that is sweeping through the world and our sector. We must embrace the need to reinvent our operations because of the coronavirus and to interrogate the unconscious biases that may exist in our grantmaking and the body of organization. At the same time, our partners and the young women leaders in India are setting an example of perseverance, demanding that we remain steadfast in our support. And I learned a long time ago that if those most affected do not give up, we as allies cannot give up either–however twisted and difficult the road ahead may be.
The pandemic has heightened all existing inequalities. By all measures, the obstacles facing the young women of Shadhika are stacked higher than they were just six months ago. But now is not the time to throw in the towel. Quite the opposite.
More than ever, Shadhika has our eyes firmly set on our vision to see an India that puts women and girls at the center of policy change and solutions in order to create a more equal, more prosperous society. As we seek more meaningful ways to live out those values, we are grateful for our loyal donors and supporters. Your continued financial support can ensure our mission is unchanged while we adapt to this new world.
Shadhika continues to closely monitor the circumstances in India in order to best support our partners and program participants. In order to remain nimble and responsive to the needs on the ground, please help us meet our goal of raising an additional $15,000 for COVID-related funds.