End Child Marriage Through Education

by Shadhika Project Inc
End Child Marriage Through Education
End Child Marriage Through Education
End Child Marriage Through Education
End Child Marriage Through Education
End Child Marriage Through Education
End Child Marriage Through Education
This is an invitation made by an alum for event
This is an invitation made by an alum for event

Shadhika Alum who graduated with a Shadhika scholarship organizes an annual event called the Alum Network Social Event. The goal of the event is to onboard the new Shadhika alum who recently graduated. A total of 16 scholars graduated this year. Three alum steering committee members planned the whole event, from creating an invitation to planning games, creating a PowerPoint, etc. They planned everything by themselves with guidance from the Shadhika staff.

A total of 12 alums attended this event on November 21st, 2022, and they were all from 5 states; some of them were new and some of them were old alums. The event started with a welcome speech, followed by introductions. Following the introduction session, alum steering committee members organized a "Pledge Activity," in which an alum gave a speech on climate change and shared how she now no longer uses plastic, after which she and others pledged that they will not use plastics from now on. Following the pledge, alum participated in fun games, and three alum gave a  Powerpoint presentation on "What is Shadhika Alum?" in which it was explained how alum can participate in the program, provide feedback to Shadhika, and become a steering committee member. By participating in programs, alum can enhance their leadership skills and have a holistic understanding of the program, which will help them facilitate any activity at the summit or virtual session for Scholars. They can enhance skills like planning, communication, management, and critical thinking. Basically, they explained the role of the alum and the voluntary participation process and how everyone can engage during quarter meetings to discuss their progress. Two alum who has been associated with Shadhika since 2019 shared their experiences.

Then alums were able to divide into two groups to discuss their expectations for Shadhika and what they wanted to learn. The alum steering committee ended the event by announcing appreciation certificates for active alums.

Shadhika is grateful to have an alum who shares our passion for giving back to the community and who has served as an inspiration to many young Scholars. We hope these alums can continue to learn and share their wisdom in 2023 as well.

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Photo from Shadhika Leaders for Change Summit
Photo from Shadhika Leaders for Change Summit

This year, Shadhika held the 3-day in-person Leaders for Change Summit in Kolkata, and the theme was "Superbloom." A Superbloom is when wildflowers bloom all at once after a long dormant season, typically due to harsh conditions, and transform the landscape with vibrant life and colors.We invited Shadhika Scholars, alumni, and partner NGO staff from across India. Everyone was under one roof full of talented, empowered, strong, and intelligent young women. The summit’s highlight was the graduation ceremony, which Shadhika celebrated on the last day of the summit.

This year,  16 Shadhika Scholars graduated from college. This class had almost 2 years of virtual learning during COVID-19. At the beginning of the pandemic, they faced difficulties attending lectures because online learning was a new concept for them. Still, the support of Shadhika’s technology package (which includes a laptop, internet, and computer course) was beneficial to help Scholars concentrate on their studies and be on the same page as everyone in their class. Despite all the challenges during online classes, scholars have studied and participated in many extracurricular activities virtually. They started their education journey by using technology to attend lectures, and now they all excel using technology!

This year at the summit, we celebrated 16 Scholars' graduation. We recognized the scholars' efforts, hard work, and talent, which they showed throughout the 3 years at their college, NGO, and Shadhika. The graduates were all dressed up for the graduation ceremony, and NGO staff gave a speech about each graduate. They were smiling and had tears in their eyes after receiving an award for graduating! Shadhika concluded the ceremony with cake, dinner, and dancing, and the Scholars took numerous photos with each other. They never hesitated to learn something new or to create awareness in their community. Their journey of being Scholars has not ended; they are taking another step to explore, learn, find jobs, and be independent.

Here are a few thoughts from the 2022 graduates: One of the graduates said, "Graduation is like a part of my life and celebration. I had a very good time during these 3 years. Another graduate mentioned, "Besides that, throughout these 3 years with Shadhika, I have gotten a great opportunity to know about the girls from different parts of India, which I think wouldn’t be possible without Shadhika. And these 3 years also helped me so much to build public speaking skills and confidence within myself. "

We would like to congratulate all of our 2022 Shadhika graduates and wish them a very successful career in the future.

We would like to express our gratitude toward Shadhika donors. It would not be possible without you all. Thank you very much for all your donations and support.

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Once Shadhika Scholars graduate they become Shadhika Alum. We have many Shadhika Alum in different states in India. Since 2019, constantly Shadhika has been connecting with Shadhika Alum. We try to involve our Shadhika Alum in several activities. They are very interested in participating in Shadhika programs. Most of the Shadhika Alum are working and with their busy schedule they always take out a little time to participate in the program. 

Since 2020, they have been participating in the Shadhika Program very actively. Here is the few program list they are actively participating in:

  1. Shadhika Scholarship Review Committee: This year 5 alum has participated in the scholarship review committee. In this committee, they get a few new scholarship applications and they have to review and rank them. Alum is interested to learn the process, they are not just reviewing and ranking. They have also given feedback to Shadhika that we need to work more on applications questionnaires and they have given suggestions to us on how and what kind of questions we need to ask. 
  2. Pen Pal Letter Program: Shadhika is running a scholarship pen pal program for shadhika scholars. Shadhika exchanges two letters in a year from donors to scholars and scholars to donors. This year a total of 10 alum have participated and written a letter for the scholars. They used to write a letter for the donors when they were scholars but now they are writing a letter for the scholars. One of the Alum has mentioned, “I am so happy to receive a reply letter from the scholars, it such a great feeling that through my letter I am able to encourage scholars”. 
  3. Shadhika Advisory Committee: Three Alum are members of the Shadhika Advisory Committee. They are involved in the discussion related to strategy, and program, and give their perspective. It’s such an amazing opportunity for them to learn and give their opinions. 
  4. Leaders for Change Summit: Shadhika Alum is involved to plan the leaders for the change summit since 2020. They have conducted many sessions in the virtual summit. They made motivational videos for scholars which we shared during the virtual summit. This year, we are planning for an in-person summit and two alum are on the summit steering committee where they are helping us to plan. 
  5. Dosti (Friendship) project: This year Shadhika Alum Steering committee started their project called Dosti (Friendship) project. This Alum steering committee has 6 alum, they all will make a video. Their goal is to make a video and share it with all the scholars every other month. They will talk about many topics such as “Self’Confidence, Tips for studies, Time Management” etc. They want to connect with the scholars and through this video, they want to make a bond with them.

We are proud of our Shadhika Alum, they are not only participating, they are leading and improving their leadership skills. We also get a chance to learn from Alum's experiences, perspectives, and feedback. They are a true role model and inspirations to many young Shadhika scholars. 

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Picture Credit: Milaan Foundation
Picture Credit: Milaan Foundation

2021 was a year that required strength, perseverance, and resilience as we all faced the second year of the Covid-19 pandemic. Here at Shadhika, we are particularly proud of what we have been able to accomplish throughout this time, and are excited to share with you all that we have achieved. Thanks to our supporters, Shadhika was able to award $70,000 in grants to our Support for Success partners, and deliver $12,500 in emergency COVID-19 response grants when the Delta wave decimated the recovery that India had made through April of 2021. These emergency response grants were often the reason that families were able to put food on their tables, and did not need to consider marrying off their daughters. The grants also helped our Partners to run vaccine and community health campaigns. Through the Support for Success program, 4,006 girls were served, and 100% of the girls in the programs escaped early, forced marriage. Our second flagship program is the Shadhika Scholars program, and in 2021 we were able to approve 36 new scholarships and renew 35 scholarships. This put us at a total of 71 Scholars for 2021-2022, a Shadhika record! 

This past year we expanded the Scholarship program to ensure that all Scholars received a technology package and could access remote learning. In August, all Scholars and Alum were invited to participate in Shadhika’s 3rd Annual Leaders for Change Summit, with the theme “Beyond All Limits.”  The Summit included three days of learning sessions and alum-led workshops on topics such as women’s health, goal setting, and job readiness. The summit included a celebration and graduation ceremony for the 14 scholars who graduated from college this year. We were also able to continue our pilot program of working with men and boys to prevent gender-based violence. Through this program, 73% of gatekeepers self-reported an increased understanding of gender-based violence and 68% of women reported feeling safer in their homes and communities around men who participated in the program. We are excited to expand this program even further. For the first time in 2021, we had five climate justice interns exploring how to address climate change as a girls rights issue. They participated in 16 sessions and are in the process of completing a toolkit on how to address climate change at the community level. Through everything, Shadhika program participants, partners, staff, and board were able to beat the odds and turn 2021 into a year of growth, learning, and impact. And we could not have done it without supporters like yourself. Thank you and we are excited to see what 2022 brings for all of us!

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Shadhika Alum have been participating in a lot of Shadhika activities and programs recently. We try to involve our Shadhika Alum in several activities such as reviewing applications for new scholars and our annual planning. They are very interested in connecting with Shadhika programs and we really value their participation. They are true leaders who always motivate young scholars in Shadhika. We feel really proud to have an Alum team. Recently, at the Leaders for Change Summit 2021, two Shadhika Alum Priya and Razia from Stop NGO conducted workshops.

Priya has been an active Shadhika Alum, and at the Leaders for Change Summit she conducted a workshop on goal setting on day one. All scholars and graduates attended her workshop. She talked about how to set SMART goals and how scholars can achieve their goals by practicing and working on their daily tasks. She talked about goal mapping, shared examples, and later did a question & answer session for scholars.

During my conversation with Priya, she shared her experience and said “I feel so good to conduct this goal setting workshop. I was happy to meet virtually all of the scholars. It is the most exciting thing to me. I am happy that I am able to convey my thoughts to new scholars and to share my knowledge and wisdom with them. That was a great opportunity for me. In the beginning I was a little hesitant but now I feel much more confident, I feel grateful and I got a lot of good feedback and appreciation from scholars.”

We have another alum Razia who conducted a workshop on poetry on day two. She explained the history of poetry, types of poetry, recitation of poetry, and shared a method to write poetry with scholars. Scholars also got a chance to write their own poetry during the workshop. They asked Razia questions and she helped them write poetry.

Razia shared her experience and said, “I feel respected, and proud at the same time. The experience was really amazing which I can't share in words. The feedback from scholars was great, some students shared their poems with me after the workshop plus in group they all shared their piece of work which made me happy. And their response shows that they liked the workshop”. One of the Shadhika scholars shared her poem during the workshop:

Education is very important

All frailty washes away from education

How much we will study

There's no end of education

Gives wisdom to the ignorant

Knowledge to the ignorant

From education we can make India a great country!

     -Bharti (Shadhika Scholar)

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Organization Information

Shadhika Project Inc

Location: Denver, CO - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Kendra Nicolai
Denver, CO United States
$115,672 raised of $125,000 goal
1,717 donations
$9,328 to go
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