Shadhika Shadhika


You, the girls and young women of Shadhika, are already beacons of light. We hope Shadhika empowers you to direct not only your own light to shine brighter but, in turn, to illuminate the way for others.

When She Leads: Menka Lamba

By Shadhika Staff

October 28, 2021

Reading Time: 5 minutes

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Board Members collection. Learn more.

Menka Lamba is a leader in the financial sector, a Shadhika supporter, and now Shadhika’s newest Treasurer. She was interviewed by Ami Shah, Communications Manager.

Hi Menka! Could you introduce yourself and share how you joined the Shadhika network?

I was born in India and my family and I immigrated to the UK when I was 3 years old. Thereafter, we immigrated again from the UK to the United States when I was 14.  Although we left India, we still had strong roots there and my family and I would go back and spend the summers there with my extended family members. 

During this pandemic, I, like so many others, had a chance to step back and reflect. I thought a lot about how when you shine your light, it’s not just for yourself. It’s for the space and the people around you. Spending time alone in the middle of this shared experience with the rest of the world reminded me of how precious time is and inspired me to seek more ways to connect and contribute to “shine my light.” A friend introduced me to Shadhika around November 2020 and immediately I knew I wanted to become involved.

How does the mission resonate with you? 

I was fortunate to be born into a family where education is viewed as an essential right for both men and women alike. This is atypical for many North Indian families even today and coming from a lineage of motivated, educated, and strong women gave me tangible examples whose imprint has helped inform my own values and life experience.  My grandmother started the first school for girls in her village in India. My mother is one of 5 sisters and a brother – all of whom are highly educated. My sister and I have never been treated as anything other than beloved human beings with great potential. I believe that education is the cornerstone for female financial, emotional, and physical freedom. 

Shadhika’s work resonated with me on a visceral level. I am inspired by the pathway created for the girls and young women of India to obtain an education to chart a course of their own choosing. What draws me even more to Shadhika is validation – the girls and young women of Shadhika get the validation that they are entitled to their dreams.

What compelled your leap from being a supporter to a Board Member? 

I feel a personal connection to the girls and young women of Shadhika in that, in another lifetime, I could have been one of them. Today, I am living a life in an environment in which I can have autonomy over my life choices. A world in which I am fulfilled professionally and personally. As I raise my daughter for the future, I want to continue to help fuel a world in which a woman is emboldened with an education and the support to manifest a life of her own choosing. 

As we enter the last quarter of the year, we are focusing all of our energy on honoring the “light” that the young women of Shadhika represent for the future of their communities. Through the pandemic, their strength and perseverance have given us hope for a brighter future. Leading up to Diwali, do you have a message to share with the young women of Shadhika?

Women are powerful. One of my favorite quotes is by the poet Adrienne Rich: “The most important thing a woman can do for another (woman) is to illuminate and expand her sense of actual possibilities.” Always remember to not be afraid. If you can help create value, do not be afraid to speak up. There is truly nothing more powerful than a woman who wants to make change and help other women make changes. 

You, the girls and young women of Shadhika, are already beacons of light. We hope Shadhika empowers you to direct not only your own light to shine brighter but, in turn, to illuminate the way for others. 

If there is one thing you could tell a prospective donor/supporter about Shadhika, your experience, and the impact, what would it be?

The work Shadhika does is not just about academic education. Shadhika is set up to empower through education and educate through empowerment. It provides a more holistic approach from educating the entire girl to sparking the light within them. Additionally, that Shadhika works with local partners amplifies the impact of the donation. I would encourage anyone who values education, women, and making the world better to donate to Shadhika. 

Learn about ways to support the young women of Shadhika shining the light to our future.

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