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

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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Here at Shadhika, the network of sisterhood and community our in-country NGO partners have provided for each other is small but bright light in an otherwise extremely dark and deadly time in India. To provide some context, as the rest of the world begins to move forward, the Covid-19 situation in India is getting worse. India is in a strict lockdown until  June 1st and this lockdown might need to continue even longer because of the second wave of corona virus spreading all over the country. India need more oxygen, hospital beds, and vaccine doses. We feel really sad because the death toll is increasing daily and people are not able to find a place to cremate their loved ones. Since India is in a lockdown, people have been  fired from their jobs  and they don’t have any sources of income. It is directly affecting  their health because they don’t have any money to feed themselves and their families, or to pay their rent or bills, and purchase medicine.

Vaccination’s Centre opened starting in May for people over 18 but now  states do not have enough vaccines. India has a website to get an appointment for a vaccine but so much traffic is on the website that is not working. And what about  people who don’t have Internet access and technology, how would they get a slot?

Through this difficult time, Shadhika and our partners have been working extremely hard to create a network of support for each other and the young women that we serve. Our NGO partners are supporting each program participant by regularly providing ration kits and internet to support their virtual college classes, as well as conducting many virtual workshops and activities to make this time valuable and educational for program participants. Continuing this work while also personally being hit really hard by this situation and this is not easy for them. NGO staff are  facing many challenges; they have to look after their family, communicate with girls within their programs that they are supporting,  some of their family members are sick, but they have not lost their hope. Rather, we have seen the immense courage and sense of community shine during this difficult time. While currently physically distanced, we at Shadhika have seen women across India stand up to take the burden from one another when it gets too heavy to carry alone. We have witnessed tremendous strength and growth within ourselves and our partners to step up to the plate and ensure that we do everything possible to ensure that the COVID-19 crisis does not derail the future of our program participants. Through all of the tragedy, our NGO partners have left us filled with determination that our work is now more important than ever, and we are grateful for their dedication to the young women we serve, despite all of the hardships the COVID-19 pandemic has brought with this second wave. They are trying each and every day and providing necessary support to those who need it.


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Scholars attended a workshop on self confidence.
Scholars attended a workshop on self confidence.

In 2020 we shifted our in-person Leaders for Change Summit to a 4 day Virtual Leadership Change Summit in the month of November where more than 40 scholars participated over WhatsApp and Zoom. We had fun challenges each day where each scholar had to write two lines poem related with the summit theme and that theme was about “She Leads Under Lockdown.” They projected their words so well and described what they thought about the theme. Here we are presenting poetry written by all Shadhika scholars at Virtual Leadership Change Summit 2020.

She Leads under the Lockdown

She leads under the lockdown,

As her courage and hope were never locked!

Despite all the hardship,

Her confidence and zeal only helped to become stronger and wiser!

She leads under lockdown,

But she leads her life strongly and in a positive way!

She can rise up from everything,

She can recreate herself,

She can learn many new things,

She can create new habits

We are so brave enough to achieve our dream!


This difficult situation will also pass,

Will find new thing and then will grasp,

No one can stop us to do innovative,

Will help and work as a support!


She leads under lockdown,

She never forgot to learn under lockdown!


You should not give up,

She wasn't looking for a knight,

She wasn't looking for a sword!


The name of accepting defeat is not life,

But the name of Survival by fighting is real life!

Keep the peace,

If you want to live longer,

Use a mask and take all precautions!

As we've got so much time with ourselves and learnt many new things

That makes us much bolder!

Yes, we fought and survived and now we are here in Summit,

Yes, if she can be Scholars, she can be everything!

                               -Shadhika Scholars

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Organization Information

Shadhika Project Inc

Location: Denver, CO - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Kendra Nicolai
Denver, CO United States
$108,103 raised of $125,000 goal
1,622 donations
$16,897 to go
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