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Welcoming our new class of Shadhika Scholars

Welcome 2020 Shadhika Scholars

By Kendra Nicolai, Program Officer

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 to receive a college scholarship from Shadhika. This scholarship is not just to pay for tuition – but also covers the costs of books, course supplies, transportation, housing, clothing, school trips and spending money for the year.  Our scholarships average $1,200 USD per year.

For most recipients, this scholarship is life changing. Young women in India struggle to access education, especially at a higher level. Many do not get the opportunity to continue their education after 10th standard (10th grade). Fewer still can afford to pay for pre-college (11th and 12th grades) where students in India must pay tuition and choose their course stream (Commerce, Arts or Science). This is the stream they continue in if they continue on to degree college. Unfortunately, attending university to achieve a bachelor’s degree feels out of reach for young women in the communities Shadhika supports. As a culture, young women are expected to get married, start a family and become a housewife – with no real education or job. In India, twenty-seven percent of girls are forced to drop out of school due to early forced marriage and forty-seven percent of girls under 18 years old are married (UNICEF State of the World’s Children Report 2016).

A scholar at Jabala shares: “I belong to a marginalized poor family with the burden of seven members. My father is the only earning member of my family. So, it is very difficult for him to provide continuous support to me. On the other hands I don’t want to discontinue my study and get married like every second girl. So, I need the scholarship very much.”

Shadhika works to break down these barriers by offering scholarships to young women leaders from across India. The young women we select to be Shadhika Scholars are active participants at the women-led partner organizations that Shadhika has worked with for many years. When awarding scholarships, Shadhika does not just look at the applicant’s desire to further their education. We focus on young women who are a girls’ rights leaders, advocates, and role models for young girls in their communities and at their NGO’s. Since the program began in 2015, Shadhika has awarded 90 scholarships with an eighty-nine percent graduation rate. Among our Shadhika Alumnae, seventy-seven percent are now working in the formal economy – something many of them thought was just a dream.

A scholar from Sahiyar shares: “My aim is to become a teacher so that I can later teach the young adults in small villages who have no access to schools. If I get the scholarship through Shadhika, I will be able to fulfill my dream. My father was an alcohol addict who never supported anyone of us and always exploited us. I can only continue my education if I get this scholarship.”

This year, Shadhika is awarding 49 motivated and deserving young women with a scholarship across six partner organizations: Vacha Charitable Trust in Mumbai is home to 20 scholars, Jabala Action Research Organization in Kolkata is home to 13 scholars, Baale Mane in Bangalore is home to five scholars, Milaan in Uttar Pradesh is home to seven, Sahiyar located in Vadodara is home to three scholars and finally, STOP India in Delhi is home to one scholar.


Returning Shadhika Scholars

Shadhika awards yearly scholarships. Each year, current Shadhika Scholars may reapply, up to three years per the average undergraduate program in India. These Shadhika Scholars are being awarded another year’s scholarship towards the 2020-2021 school year.

New Shadhika Scholars

These Shadhika Scholars are receiving their first scholarship for the 2020-2021 school year.

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