Shadhika Shadhika


I want the girls of India to feel freedom. I think every girl should know their human right to freedom. Without freedom, they cannot do anything for themselves.

When She Leads: Razia & Amkamsoom

April 7, 2021

Reading Time: 8 minutes

This interview is part of our When She Leads: Shadhika Alum collection. Learn more.

Razia and Amkamsoom are sisters first, as well as Shadhika Alum from our partner site STOP in Delhi. They were interviewed by Program Officer Kendra Nicolai.

Press play to hear their introduction.

Hi Razia and Amkamsoom. Can you both introduce yourselves to our Shadhika readers?

I am Razia, from Delhi and from STOP NGO. I graduated in 2019 from college with a degree in Journalism.

Hello, I am Amkamsoom. I am Razia’s little sister, and I graduated in 2020 with a Nursing degree.

What was it like to be part of the Shadhika programs at STOP? 

Razia: When I knew about Shadhika and how they started giving scholarships to girls in need, I was happy to hear that. I wanted to do something, to fulfil my dream. When I got the application, I took first steps on the stairs to achieve my goal. I really didn’t think I would get selected. When I heard I was going to receive a scholarship, I was like, “Wow – I can now do what I want to do!” It gave me motivation, inspiration and was a dream come true. I am very happy to be a part of the Shadhika Scholars. When I met all the Shadhika staff, they are not just a ma’am, they are big sister, friend and are people who I can go to if I need help or want to share something–they are here for me. I was really happy to get the chance for a Shadhika scholarship.

Amkamsoom: Receiving a Shadhika scholarship was a very good opportunity for me. I am happy I was able to find this scholarship and to meet the Shadhika staff. If I need advice or any support Shadhika is there. The scholarship gave me energy, inspired me, and encouraged me to become a good leader. It helped me to achieve my goals and become a leader in our community.

What has your life been like since college graduation? 

Razia: When I graduated from college, I took an internship where my results were good. All the people that I worked with appreciated my work. It took really hard work there. After a while, I found they just wanted to work me as a free laborer.

In media, this is very challenging. Whenever I find a job, their pay scale is very low. I couldn’t make my travel within their pay. I did so many interviews but I couldn’t get selected. They couldn’t give me good pay. They would want me to work at night but this is dangerous in Delhi so I couldn’t do it. I did finally get a job, with a good paycheck, but then the pandemic happened. I am again unemployed currently. Through the pandemic, I have pursued improving  myself and my English skills. I have continued to apply and send my CV to many companies, and I hope I am hired soon.

When I heard that Amkamsoom was selected for a nursing job, I was really happy. Our family needs someone to work during the pandemic because no one has a job right now. Our brother and sister were laid off and my father cannot work. Her job as a nurse is really good for our family!

Amkamsoom: After graduation, I was so happy! We celebrated the Shadhika Graduation Ceremony on Zoom. My college didn’t do anything this year, so I was excited that Shadhika gave us a proper farewell. After I received my final grades, I was hired as a nurse in Bandra Hospital. I went with my friend who was interviewing, and when we arrived I suddenly saw there were more nurse vacancies too so I applied and was selected.

To me, nursing is exciting. This is my dream job. I want to help people, and this is the way for me to help people. When I got the job, I was so happy to help people in front of me. Since I have started, I have learned so many new things I didn’t learn in college and continue to enjoy learning. I now know many more things about the hospital, and work in the surgical ICU. In the future I have a goal to do my post-graduate education in nursing.

Amkamsoom, second from left, with her fellow nurses.

What are your goals and ambitions for your future? 

Razia: My first goal is to find a job and support my family. Also, I want to become a great writer and poet. I practice and work on many poems. I know I am a beginner but I think I write well. One day I hope to be published.

Amkamsoom: My next goal is to complete my post-graduate nursing degree, so that I am able to get a government job in community nursing. This is my future dream.

What do you hope for girls in India?

Razia: I want every girl in India to stand on their own feet, and never need to depend on others. You are for yourself. Believe in yourself. If you stand for yourself, your world will stand for you. I think every girl in India has to know about their rights, stand for their rights. When they know about their value, the world will then know about their value.

Amkamsoom: I want the girls of India to feel freedom. I think every girl should know their human right to freedom. Without freedom, they cannot do anything for themselves.

Do you have a mentor or role model? 

Razia: Yes, I have a role model in my life, that is my mom. She was always ready to do everything for her children, for her community. She was a great leader to me. Whenever she felt someone in need, she always tried to help them. My mom passed away last year.

Amkamsoom: Its very painful for us.

Razia: Because of my mom’s example, I always try to help people. When Shadhika has opportunities I am always trying to help because I want to give back. Whenever I look at someone in my community who needs help, I will help.

In our community when the fire broke out last year, everyone watched but no one called the fire brigade. I called them the moment I saw the fire. Since it’s a pandemic, the fire brigade came but they were very slow–even I knew there was no traffic and yet they were saying they were in traffic. But everyone knew there was no traffic because of the COVID lockdown.

I was happy to help the people affected by the fire. Both me and Amkamsoom broke our piggy bank and gave money to the fire victims and also gave them some of our clothing. I know I will not be exactly like my mom, but I can try. She wanted us to stand on our feet and so we are trying. We want to live up to her.

Amkamsoom: My father and mother are my role models. When I was in class 2, my teacher was also my role model. She was very encouraging and supportive. I was so little at that time, and she encouraged me when I was sad.

Now, I am a role model for other girls in our community. Other girls ask me what I am doing now that my college is over, and I tell them I am working as a nurse. Then their parents ask me questions like, “My daughter also wants to do nursing, can you please help me?” I tell them, “Firstly you complete your 12th, after that I help you.”  It is important to me to also encourage other girls.

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