Shadhika Shadhika


Meet the Shadhika Staff who work tirelessly to make everything we do possible and read what the year was like, behind the scenes!

When She Leads: Meet the Shadhika Staff

January 6, 2023

Reading Time: 6 minutes

This interview is part of our When She Leads series. Learn more.

Meet the Shadhika Staff who work tirelessly to make everything we do possible and read what the year was like, behind the scenes!

Personally and professionally, I think that this past year was a big year of growth for me, so ‘We rise, we learn, we grow’ really fits (it) quite well. Being my first full year at Shadhika, I was really able to deepen my understanding of Trust-Based Philanthropy and pass this knowledge along to our community of supporters. I am very proud of Shadhika’s supporters for embracing this new model as a more equitable way to support our workJenna Sweig, Development Officer, on what 2022 meant to her.

This year we rose out of the depths of the pandemic and resumed in-person gatherings both in the US and India, which collectively gave me renewed joy and strength to carry out this work. We continued to prioritize and invest in learning how to decolonize our work and lead with trust-based approaches both with fundraising and grantmaking. 

Overall, I feel supported by our team’s dedication, and inspired by our Scholars and Partners, and I feel hopeful about our ambitious strategic plan to grow next year and the years ahead – Kendra Nicolai, Director of Operations, on what work in 2022 was like.

After everything I worked on in 2022, ‘We Rise, We Learn, We Grow’ to me means that in the face of adversity I rise to the occasion, I learn from my mistakes, and I grow through the experience. At the start of 2022, I worked hard on improving my mental and emotional health and learned so much about myself and what I am capable of in the process. I also continued to pursue my graduate degree, where I continue to learn and grow as an international policy practitioner. At the end of the year, I pushed myself to seek out new professional opportunities, which led me to Shadhika. As I begin my role as Development Associate, I am excited to rise up and take on new challenges, learn new things, and grow both professionally and personallyMonica O’Reilly, Development Associate, on what 2022 meant to her.

After two years of the pandemic, 2022 felt like a year where we reflected on our work and spent time relearning many things. We also got a chance to interact in person with scholars, partners, alums, and colleagues. This was the time we focused more on creating connections, understanding Shadhika’s values and principles, and implementing themSabah Siddiqui, Scholars and Alum Liaison, on her learnings from 2022.

Mere pati ko bass ghar ka kaam samjah aaye aur woh apne hisse ka kaam kar le, bass itna hi chahiye aur kuch nahi. Fir main apne aap subah thoda time mere padhai ke liye nikal lungi [If only my husband could understand and take some time out to do household chores. Then I’ll be able to take some time out in the morning to study]”, Savitri devi (name changed) explained in her humorous style when she was asked what support you expect from men in her family. Listening to her comment, everyone laughed.
This conversation from my recent site visit has stayed with me. Savitri and many other girls and women just need their own space and equal ground to lead and grow. Men need to recognize their share of responsibilities and show up honestly each time said Sunil Gangavane, our Program Officer, about a lesson that stayed with him from 2022.

2022 was like a rainbow after two years of pandemic. This year was filled with hope, resilience, trust and more commitment towards the work. Shadhika’s work was given more depth by adding the language of trust and DEI that reflected in the grant making, programming and over organisational values. Shadhika with consistent donors support was able expand its work and reach out to more inter generationally marginalized communities in Karnataka and Rajasthan add new programs partners.
Shadhika’s new strategic goals were curved out collectively to recognise and celebrate the power of local NGO leaders, individual leadership of young women and allyship model that can help Shadhika move in the direction of growth
said Upasana Saha, Director of Programs, on what work in 2022 was like.

Celebrating the rise of community action and activism, learning to listen to and hold space for critical discussion, and aspiring to grow my capacity to contribute meaningfullysaid Urmila Reghunath, our Communications Manager, on her learnings from 2022.

We say this about each year, but 2022 was really a year of new experiences and a lot of learning. ‘We Rise, We Learn, We Grow’ perfectly captures how the year went personally and professionally. 2022 saw a lot of celebration, learning, and grief. It taught me to be strong because of all these experiences. I am really proud of and in awe of the work Shadhika Scholars, Staff, and supporters do, everydaysaid Vanita Ganesh, the Communications Officer, on what 2022 was like for her.

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