Shadhika means 'a girl with aspirations' in Bengali. Shadhika's mission is to invest in the education, empowerment, and economic self-sufficiency of girls for India's future. Founded in 1992, Shadhika provides support to at-risk girls in India by investing in the education, empowerment and economic self-sufficiency of girls ages 10- 24 and supporting gender-based violence prevention programs for boys ages 10- 24. A recent UN report states that the most dangerous place to be a girl or women is India. The female infanticide rate in India is the second highest in the world. The 2011 census showed the child sex ratio in India was 914 females for every 1,000 males - meaning that ... read more Shadhika means 'a girl with aspirations' in Bengali. Shadhika's mission is to invest in the education, empowerment, and economic self-sufficiency of girls for India's future. Founded in 1992, Shadhika provides support to at-risk girls in India by investing in the education, empowerment and economic self-sufficiency of girls ages 10- 24 and supporting gender-based violence prevention programs for boys ages 10- 24. A recent UN report states that the most dangerous place to be a girl or women is India. The female infanticide rate in India is the second highest in the world. The 2011 census showed the child sex ratio in India was 914 females for every 1,000 males - meaning that at least 60-70 girls were put to death before they reached six years of age - simply because they were born a girl. India also leads the world in early and forced marriage, as fully one-third of the world's "child brides" live in India. Forty-seven percent of girls are married by age 18 and eighteen percent by age 15. Finally, with an estimated 1.2 million child prostitutes, India tops the list of countries when it comes to transit, destination and source of human trafficking victims. All of these crimes against women and girls are technically illegal in India. Changing these statistics therefore, is not necessarily about policy change - it's about culture change. To make a difference in the lives of girls and women, we must work directly with the communities most at-risk to change the behaviors of fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, and community leaders. Shadhika focuses on serving girls who are most at-risk to be subjected to trafficking, child marriage, and/or who are facing caste, religious or gender discrimination. Shadhika carries out its mission though direct programming as well as investments in its partner organizations -- women-led NGOs working in India. We focus our work in the following areas: Girl's secondary and college education (ages 10 - 24): While India has seen an increase in the number of girls attending primary school - which is mandatory in India, there continues to be a decline in the number of girls completing middle school and college or vocational training. It is at the point of middle school (Class VII and beyond) - when the girls hit puberty - that these young women are most vulnerable to trafficking, early and forced marriage, and child labor. Shadhika has partnered with a number of NGO's who are working to ensure these girls complete middle school either through scholarships or through direct provision. Our partners work closely with the families of these girls to help them understand the value of keeping these girls in school. In addition, Shadhika also offers College Scholarship Fund where graduates of our programs can apply for financial support to continue onto college. Job training and/ or economic self-sufficiency training for girls up to 24 years of age: Currently only 29 percent of women over the age of 15 are part of India's formal economy. For the at-risk young women we serve, helping them develop job skills and find employment is a critical factor in achieving economic self-sufficiency and gender parity. Working outside the home not only increases their family's economic well-being, it also increases their standing within their home and larger community. Shadhika is working with a number of partners in India that are helping young women who have graduated from middle school start a business or go to vocational school to learn a trade. Leadership development programming for girls (ages 10 - 24): An array of recent studies have shown that when girls become leaders in their communities, corruption diminishes, democracy flourishes, and extremism is reduced. To achieve these outcomes and effect change in their communities, the young women we support must be empowered and become leaders. Shadhika and its partners in India provide leadership-training programs to equip these emerging leaders with the skills they need to be effective advocates for their own rights. Gender-based violence prevention programming for boys (ages 10 to 25): Breaking the cycle of gender inequality will not come solely through investing in girls advancement or even solely though changing the cultural beliefs of their parents. We know this and are working with our partners to develop programs for boys that combat long-held traditions, gender-biases, and violence against women and girls. Through a carefully vetted process, Shadhika is currently supporting seven partner organizations working on these key issues in Mumbai, Varanasi, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and Greater Bangalore. To be a Global Giving Partner and to have a listing on Global Giving's Platform would help ensure that Shadhika and its partners are able to continue to support to at-risk girls so that they - and India - can realize their aspirations for a better future.
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