Shadhika Shadhika

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An update from Shadhika's CEO regarding COVID-19

We’re In This Together

By Kim Burnett, President & CEO

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., we are all in this together.

Wherever you are, we hope you and your loved ones are safe and staying healthy. As we all adapt to our new reality, we want to share what is happening at Shadhika. Beginning today, we will provide regular updates about how the young women we support, our grantee partner sites, and all of us at Shadhika are responding to the crisis. 

Shadhika Staff: As of last week, all staff in India, the U.S., and Canada are working from home and all travel and gatherings are suspended until further notice. While such an adjustment has proved easier for those of us in the U.S. and Canada, it has been a challenge to help some of our staff in India, who come from the communities we serve themselves, get situated to work from home when their home spaces are quite small and lack internet access.  But as of this week, all staff are up and working at full capacity.

Grantee Partner Sites: Upasana Saha, our Program Officer in India, is in frequent communication with all of our partners. Many partners have been forced to suspend their after-school programs and are in the process of adjusting their program plans. Given that they work in crowded slum communities or in remote rural areas without reliable internet access, planning will be a challenge. Shadhika is working closely with each site to provide flexibility in our grant support and adjust as needed.

The Young Women of Shadhika: Kendra Nicolai and Sabah Siddiqui, our Program staff working with Shadhika Scholars and Alumnae, are in daily conversations with the young women we support across India. Many schools are closed, and the girls are now at home. All are following social distancing and hygiene practices as much as possible, considering their close living quarters and lack of running water. Unfortunately, virtual learning like we have seen provided for students in the U.S. is not readily available, so we expect delays in their course work over the coming months. We have been inspired by Scholars who are taking the initiative to teach hand-washing and hygiene courses for the younger girls in their communities.

How can you help? For now, we’re asking everyone to be kind and be safe. We ask you to consider supporting your local, first-response organizations. After that, if you still want to help, we encourage you to become a monthly donor which provides the day-to-day resources we need to respond in times of crisis like we are facing today.

On behalf of the young women we serve, our grantee partner sites, and the staff and board of Shadhika, I want to thank all of you for your continued support of our work. With your support, Shadhika is able to provide consistent grant and scholarship support across all of our sites. Together, we will weather this crisis and ensure that Shadhika, our partners, and the young women we serve are able to as well.

Please reach out to me or any of us at Shadhika if you have questions, concerns or ideas for how we can work together to manage this crisis.

In solidarity,

Kim Burnett
President & CEO


P.S. As you know, Shadhika is in the midst of a leadership transition. Our Board of Directors is in the final stages of the hiring process and we expect a new Executive Director to come on board in June. However, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, I will remain on as an advisor to Shadhika from June to December 2020 to support our new leadership as needed.

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