Mission: To inspire a culture shift in India by ensuring that every young woman can realize her full potential.
About the organization: Founded in 1992 by Juthica Stangl, a native of Kolkata, as a shelter for women wrongly imprisoned due to insufficient dowry or failure to produce a male child, Shadhika initially provided support to NGOs in India focused on poverty, education, and injustice. In response to the "Nirbhaya" Delhi gang rape case in 2013, the organization decided to focus its activities on combating gender inequality by investing in young women's empowerment and economic self-sufficiency. To that end, the organization provides young women with a continuum of support designed to help them complete their education, achieve economic self-sufficiency, and advocate for women's and girls' rights.
Current programs: The organization's programs include Supports for Success, which awards grants to women-led nonprofits that deliver afterschool programming for adolescent and teen girls focused on their rights, participation in community projects, staying in school, and avoiding early marriage. Young women who demonstrate leadership in the program receive college and vocational scholarships through the Shadhika Scholars program, including full tuition support, English tutoring, computer classes, a laptop, and job readiness training. The organization also offers media internships and hosts an annual summit for Shadhika Scholars as well as an annual alumnae network meeting. To date, 82 percent of Shadhika Scholars have obtained jobs in the formal economy or are pursuing advanced degrees, compared with the national average for women of 27 percent.
The organization also recently launched a multiyear initiative in Uttar Pradesh aimed at building awareness among boys, men, and "gatekeepers" (elected officials, religious leaders, police) of gender-based violence and mobilizing action to prevent it.
COVID-19: In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Shadhika established a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund that provides rapid, flexible financial support to its grantee partners, including funds to cover the cost of food, sanitation and medical supplies, mental health counseling, distance-learning tools (laptops/ tablets, internet, and video conferencing), school supplies, and emergency lodging.
Website: Visitors to the Shadhika site can learn about the organization's local partners, read the success stories of program participants, and/or check out the blog to stay abreast of the latest developments. They can also lean more about partner organizations' COVID-19 response efforts in India, make a donation to the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund, and/or find out how to support the organization by joining a giving circle or sponsoring a girl.
Funding: Shadhika is supported by individuals and foundations.