Education  India Project #20451

Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign

by Shadhika Project Inc
Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign
Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign
Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign
Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign
Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign
Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign
Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign
Let Her Lead! College Scholarship Campaign

Recently, We had a conversation with one of the Shadhika scholars from Baale Mane. I was happy and proud how what our scholar's day look like. Let’s meet the Shadhika Scholar, she is living in Baale Mane PG. She is studying in her 1st year of Bachelor of Commerce, and with her studies, she has started doing internships so she can have theory & practical knowledge. She’s interested in accounting and after her graduation, she wants to give banking exams.  Here are a few questions a few have asked her.

How do you start with your day and what do you do from morning to evening?

Scholar: I start my day with prayers and then take a walk. This gives more strength and relief! Then, I start getting ready for my internship, I eat breakfast and go to the office. Then, I go to my college from 5:40 pm to 9:00 pm. It is quite difficult to adapt to work and studies but I do manage both by myself. I don’t get time to study properly so I study on the weekends and try to more focus on that time. I sit in a quiet place and I don’t use my mobile phone while I am studying. Also, I avoid small talk. I do laundry and other chores on the weekends.

What do you do in your free time?

Scholar: In my free time I read books, anything I find interesting I post on Facebook & Instagram.  I always listen to devotional music because it makes me feel good. Sometimes movies melody songs I like to listen. 

What kind of advice you would like to give to other scholars?

Scholar: No matter what don’t give up. Never stop learning because every day is a learning day. In your life, everyone's dream matters whether it’s small or big. 

I was amazed by her story, she is working hard and trying her best. Just like this scholar, we have many other scholars who are working hard daily. They go to college, do household chores, attend Computer and English classes or coaching classes, take out time to do self-study, and participate in NGO social activities. They are the true example of “KEEP GOING” until they reach their goal.

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Picture Credit: Brijesh Gupta/Getty Images
Picture Credit: Brijesh Gupta/Getty Images

Today we would like to share a story of one of our Scholars. Her name is Shital and she is from Vadodara, India. She is extremely passionate about her education and loves to learn finance and management. We asked her about her college experience during Covid-19. We got to know about her experience of enrolling in college in a pandemic and learning everything digitally. She enrolled for her first year of  “Bachelor of Commerce '' in 2020. She mentioned “She was excited to learn about the details of management, insurance & accounts”. When she enrolled, she learned new concepts like policies, chain of command, leadership, various insurance, how to prepare and maintain accounting excel sheets and how to run a business”.  We can see how excited she is to learn about these concepts. 

When she applied for this degree, she was thinking it would be in person classes but it was all virtual. She was happy that her deaf teacher taught her English through sign language since Shital is deaf. She had no issue with the online classes but the drawback was to have only 40 minute time limits. Many deaf students were unable to ask any questions due to the time limit. The courses were great but instead of virtual classes she would really prefer in person classes because she can interact with her teacher via sign language and learn more. In person classes would also make it easier for her to make new deaf friends and share knowledge. She thinks her English is currently very average and she wants to improve her grammar so she can express herself in writing.

Shital was also sad that after the online classes she couldn’t call her friends to clear doubts because they were busy with their families and they couldn't help each other with their homework or studies. If she had an in person class, there would be no interruption. She said, it is okay as the pandemic has caused the disruption of many things. There are many girls who can’t access the internet and now they are dropouts. 10 million girls in India  could drop out of secondary school due to the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a Right to Education (RTE) forum policy brief. 

Shital would like to say that “During important zoom events, accessibility must be given to her through Indian sign language. That is my only demand.” Because about 43% of students with disabilities plan to drop out of schools because of impediments caused by online education.

Shadhika has Scholars from diverse backgrounds, and we are lucky to have them. They are Shadhika’s strength that motivates us everyday. There are Scholars who want to become accountants just like Shital, and a few who want to be nurses, engineers, teachers, business women, doctors, army officers, or government officers. They have big dreams and they know that by studying and working hard they can achieve their dreams. We can all see the spark in their eyes and the passion they have for their dreams. They are not just studying but also creating awareness in their communities and empowering girls and women. We would like to thank each and everyone for being a great supporter of Shadhika.

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Shadhika scholars’ favorite event is the “Leaders for Change Summit” because they love to interact with other scholars who they got the chance to meet in person during the first summit in 2019. They really enjoyed the workshops during the 2019 summit and learned a lot. Due to Covid-19 Shadhika is unable to conduct in-person summits, so last year we began hosting a virtual summit. Although we missed the in-person connection with scholars, we still managed to connect with scholars through WhatsApp both this year and last.

This year, Shadhika conducted a three day virtual Leaders for Change Summit and the theme was “Beyond All Limits.” This ran from August 25th to August 27th and was held over Zoom. The Shadhika team had been planning this summit since the beginning of 2021. We invited many speakers from all over India for the summit. We had interpreters who live translated the content into Hindi, Gujarati & Bengali which helped our scholars to connect and understand each session without any language barriers.

During day one of the summit there were four speakers. The first speaker was from Feminism India- the speaker was talking about women’s empowerment, shared stories about young women, and motivated scholars during the workshop. We had a goal setting workshop run by a Shadhika Alum; she gave a presentation on goal setting, how to set a SMART goal, and explained goal mapping. We had another workshop on financial management from Buzz India. The speaker talked about financial management, saving money, and gave examples during the workshop so the girls could easily understand. The last speaker was a Shadika Board member. She held a workshop on women’s health and her session really helped Shadhika scholars to learn more about their health, menstruation, mental health and much more.

Day two we had three workshops simultaneously going on and about videography, photography, and poetry. We gave scholars the option to choose as per their interest and learn about videography, photography, or poetry. Each group had a about 10-20 Shadhika scholars.

On the last day of the summit, we had a presentation from the Shadhika Climate Change interns. Our five interns presented the meaning of climate change, showed a video made by an intern on climate change, and they did one activity on how we can save our earth. They did an amazing job and each scholar learned something from the presentation. We also organized a job panel with three Shadhika Alum, where they shared their experience finding a job and gave tips to Shadhika graduates and new scholars on how to write a resume, how to use websites like LinkedIn, and how to prepare for an interview. Later, we had a graduation ceremony where we recognized each graduate through videos made by our partners NGO. We gave awards to those who have done incredible jobs this year also we awarded 2021 graduates. We showed a video of graduates and alum giving younger scholars advice.

Shadhika got positive feedback from scholars that they enjoyed each activity and workshop, they participated in daily challenges, and they were able to see each other on zoom. One scholar from Jabala said she made many new friends during the virtual summit and after the summit she is still keeping in touch with another scholar she met.

We don’t know if we will be able to conduct an in-person summit next year or not, but the connection we have with the scholars will continue to engage them, provide informative resources to them or to guide them virtually throughout the year. We are really happy that the Shadhika team was able to conduct this summit and we believe all Shadhika scholars can reach “Beyond All Limits.”

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Shadhika implemented the Community Leadership Project component of the scholarship program in June 2019. Scholars were trained at the Leaders for Change Summit and selected topics as per their community needs. They learned the process of planning of a project, budgeting, project management and enjoyed creating connections with each other in person. The main goals of this community project are to design and lead a project from start to finish, take a leadership role as a changemaker in their community, educate themselves about issues affecting their community, and to spread awareness in their community.

2020 and 2021 have been different, difficult years and the situation in India is critical. Shadhika has moved fully to virtual engagement and trained our second year scholars in the Virtual Leaders for Change Summit 2020 on how to plan and conduct a community leadership project. They participated in all of the workshops at a three day virtual summit,, where they chose their topic as per the community needs, planned their project, made a budget, and started working on their project in December. In four months they have all completed their projects with the majority of the scholars doing this virtually. Our Shadhika team was in touch with scholars during their project through calls and WhatsApp texts.

The Scholars have chosen topics such as education, technology and health. I have noticed the young women have chosen topics per their community needs, based on the current situation. They have been working on their projects in detail planning little steps to achieve their big goals. I must say, now they are aware of the changes they needed to make due to Covid-19 and they made their plan according to the situation.

I have interviewed Navya, she is from Baale Mane. She chose “Right to Education” as her topic, and she has started working on a project. She wants to spread awareness to young girls about education and also wants to be creative, so she has drawn the importance of education. She took examples of empowered women all over the world like Michelle Obama and Savitribai Phule, who founded India’s first school for women and shared many more examples. She feels girls are more attracted when you give examples and can easily understand any topic with examples which is why she focused on this. She also mentioned, with her drawing and her example she wants to connect with young girls to have a bigger impact on them. Navya has selected 15-20 young girl leaders from Baale Mane and she surveyed each girl using google forms., She mentioned- she was so happy to create a google survey for her project on a laptop by herself, before she was not aware how to create a google form but she was happy to learn. In the end she mentioned “how important it is to have a conversation with young girls about women’s success and women leaders because from listening to and reading these stories they feel inspired, empowered, and confident. They can set a goal for themselves, study well, be what they want to be, and work towards their goals every day.”

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I was a Shadhika scholar and completed my graduation and now am working at Shadhika. During my graduation I always think about my future, my family, my goals, my community and many things. Being a Shadhika scholar I always thought about how I should be more focused on studies and want to be an independent girl. I always share my dreams with other scholars and always love to hear them too as I always get inspired from their stories because everyone has their own story and goals.

Now working at Shadhika I have been connected with all the scholars from all Shadhika sites and this opportunity gives me to talk and know more about our scholars. It all feels like sharing my dreams with other Shadhika scholars to listen to all Shadhika scholars' stories, dreams and get motivated from each of them.

Maybe 2020 wasn't an easy and exciting year but during this time I interacted with all the Shadhika scholars over phone calls and messages. I host a few online activities on WhatsApp where we talk about many things related to their studies, hobbies, dreams, job & career and I was able to see their motivation and get to know how talented they are.

There were few scholars who shared their stories, scholars said;

“I want to become a judge especially for women so they can get justice”

“I want to become a banker it’s my childhood dream because when I go to bank and seeing those bankers at bank and how they work and apart from this I am the first girl in my family who is pursuing banking degree”

“I want to be a journalist; I have to say this is the toughest job because they need to explain and get news published truthfully and I am loving journalism my degree hopefully I will be achieved”

“I want to be a strong supporter of my family to support them financially as well as mentally”

“I love sports and I want all girls in my community go to playground and play the outdoor games and get a good health because we are living in the society where girls are not allowed to play in the playground after 13 age”

“I want to help girls to support them and guide them”

“I want to tell the society that Girls are not weak and they can stand on their feet”.

These are the dreams I heard from them and not only they are dreaming for their future but also they are thinking about themselves and working towards it. I observe they are thinking and including their families, community, girls and many things while dreaming.They all are talking about their dreams which they will be achieving soon but they are already dreaming and achieving with all the small steps.

I must say when they were talking about their dreams and want to achieve in future but for me they already started achieving from their small steps whether it’s about negotiating, to take decisions related with them, to make family understand, to think about themselves, to ask questions, to imagine their future or to learn skills. These are the ways they already make it in real life. I am motivated already after hearing these inspirational stories and small movements, awareness they are creating at home, college, community and in themselves.

Dreams matter and these girls prove that to achieve something we need to dream it first.

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Organization Information

Shadhika Project Inc

Location: Denver, CO - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Kim Burnett
Denver, CO United States
$36,011 raised of $45,000 goal
341 donations
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