Shadhika Shadhika

The Context of Our Work

If the girls in our community get a proper education and know their rights, they can stand for themselves and make their own decisions.

-Sanjuckta and Pranjuckta, young women of Shadhika

California Could Become the First State to Ban Caste Bias as Prejudices Linger

Following the case by the state’s Civil Rights Department against the caste discrimination by two engineers at Cisco Systems three years ago, the State Legislature has sent a bill to Gov. Gavin Newsom that could make California the first state to expressly prohibit such bias.

Deadly Communal Violence Flares in India

“The latest communal violence comes against a broader rise in hate crimes against minority groups. A study by economist Deepankar Basu noted a 786% increase in hate crimes against all minorities between 2014 and 2018”

Number of Schools in India Declined by 20,000 in 2021-’22, Shows Government Data

The data also showed that the number of teachers declined by 1.95% from 2020-’21 to 2021-’22. The study found that enrollment of students in pre-primary sections dropped by 1.15 million from 2020-2021 to 2021-2022.

75% Women Journalists Experience Online Violence, 18% Receive Threats of Sexual Violence: Report

The report titled The Chilling: Global trends in online violence against women journalists was commissioned by UNESCO surveyed over 1,000 journalists in 15 countries over 3 years. Globally, India is among 12 countries where killers of journalists can still get away with impunity.

Supreme Court Upholds Constitutional Validity of EWS Quota

The Supreme Court upheld the validity of the 103rd Constitutional Amendment which provides 10% reservation in government jobs and educational institutions to ‘economically weaker sections’ but excludes the ‘poorest of poor’ among Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Socially and Educationally Backward Classes and Other Backward Classes from its scope.

India Ranks 107 On The 2022 Global Hunger Index

In the Global Hunger Index, 2022, India ranked 107 out of 121 countries, well behind its South Asian neighbors, with the child wasting rate at 19.3% being the highest in the world. With a score of 29.1, the level of hunger in India has been labeled “serious”.

COVID-19 and its aftermath

The COVID-19 pandemic has reshaped the world, laying bare the stark disparities in how intersectional contexts affect communities, and how interconnected we are despite the gaps that separate us. In 2020, Shadhika raised nearly $30,000 in COVID emergency funding keeping Shadhika’s core operations intact, allowing all the partners to keep their doors open, and funding 100% of Shadhika Scholars to stay in school. 2 years later, we are yet to recover from the lasting impact the pandemic has left within the communities we work with.

  • “During the lockdown, most girls experienced their families losing jobs. They were not able to afford travel fares to attend Sahiyar classes and the replacement online classes required high data bandwidth which is a luxury at this time of financial crunch. Also, girls have to manage to finish household chores and care-giving work before dedicating any time for their online school/college studies.”

    - Reena, Youth Coordinator with Shadhika’s partner site Sahiyar in Gujarat on the complex challenges young girls face in accessing essential rights to education and safety

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  • “The continuation of COVID-19 globally has created an undue burden on women and girls, what the United Nations now describes as a “shadow pandemic.” This has created extensive challenges, particularly for women and girls and everyone working in the gender equity field. Making the transition from community-based, in-person programming to virtual programming was a huge pivot, however, Shadhika’s partners persisted and came through with creative and innovative strategies for engaging their young women participants.”

    - Upasana Saha, Director of Programs, Shadhika on the agile response by Shadhika’s partners in the face of the COVID-19 lockdown

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  • “There was a slogan during this time: “When India works, Bharat walks”. When a class of Indians is busy working from home, the marginalized people in India are forced to walk home, some 800 miles to return to their villages because there is no work.”

    - Deblina, a District Coordinator with Shadhika’s partner site Jabala in West Bengal on how girl leadership emerged in response to the catastrophic effect the lockdown led to for migrant laborer communities

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  • “We all have a right to say something, to express ourselves. I think whenever we feel something is wrong or different, we need to talk about it. I speak up anytime my parents are making a decision related to me.”

    - Parvati, a participant with Shadhika’s partner site Vacha, in Mumbai on how negotiation and communication skills have aided her in voicing for her right to access education and employment opportunities amidst the lockdown

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Learn more from conversations with Shadhika’s Scholars and Partners of the long-term challenges and systemic disparities that have emerged in light of the pandemic.