Shadhika's Covid-19 Emergency Response

by Shadhika Project Inc
Shadhika's Covid-19 Emergency Response
Picture from the Shadhika Summit
Picture from the Shadhika Summit

Shadhika believes in investing from adolescence to adulthood, Shadhika partners with local women-led organizations to unleash the potential of a generation of young women, each of whom lifts up a generation beside and behind her. This year we would like to welcome two women-led grassroots organizations. They are doing incredible work with girls and women by empowering them through their programs and campaigns. 

Meet our new two grantee partners,

SAKHI Trust is a Non-profitable organization based in Karnataka, India. Its primary mission is ‘Our Youth for Our Village Development’ SAKHI works to provide a platform for girls and youth from vulnerable communities in both rural and urban areas of Hosapete taluka of Bellary district to overcome caste, sexual, and gender discrimination and abuse. The Trust also works in providing educational, vocational, health, social, and economic support to adolescent girls in order to rescue them from discrimination and abuse as well as in making the community work free of child labor, child marriages, and devadasi system, sexual abuse, and violence.

Vikalp Sansthan is a women-led grassroots organization based in Rajasthan, India. Vikalp Sansthan's mission is to empower youth to end gender-based violence and discrimination through creating alternative and creative ways to voice their opinions, integrating them in the process of social development, and creating a future that is just and equal for all. Vikalp works holistically to eliminate violence against women. They work with local communities to create awareness and sensitize them on the issues of gender-based violence through campaigns.

We are excited to work with Sakhi Trust and Vikalp Sansthan.

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When India was facing the 2nd wave of the Covid-19, Shadhika scholars didn't lose their hope. They continued their studies, managed their time, and used the time to learn something new. There were a few Shadhika scholars who were not only focusing on their studies but also utilizing their time to create an awareness in their community. Shadhika scholars got training for Community Leadership Projects during Shadhika’s annual summit which was held virtually the past couple of years. They chose their topic as per the community's needs. They have mostly focused on the Right to Education and Covid-19 awareness. 

Awareness of Right to Education: 

In India during Covid-19, the cases of girl dropouts from school and college have increased which leads to rising child marriage cases. Scholars have been working really hard on their community leadership projects. First, they did surveys in their community to learn about the number of dropout cases. Then they did home visits and conducted community meetings. They talked about the importance of education and shared a few government scholarship schemes since few of the girls were facing financial problems. 

A few of the Shadhika Scholars spoke to their principal about the dropout students from their college where they had helped the girls to enroll in school. They also faced challenges during that time; one of them was to convince girls’ parents to continue their daughters’ education.

Awareness of Covid-19 Vaccine:

In India, people were hesitant to get vaccinated. At that time a few of the Shadhika scholars stepped forward to build awareness within their community. They did home visits and spoke about the benefits of the Covid-19 vaccine and precautions to take during Covid-19. Also, there were many people in the village who were facing difficulty registering themselves for online vaccine booking on their mobile. Shadhika Scholars helped them with online registration for vaccine appointments. Scholars also provided community members with the vaccine center addresses.

One of our scholars from Jabala said “I want to see my community be more aware of personal health and should see their health as their priority”. 

Shadhika Scholars reached more than 400 people in India during the 2nd wave of Covid-19. They tried their best to help their communities. The best thing we all have learned is that, no matter what, we all need to support each other, help those in need, and be grateful for the people we have. Thank you Shadhika donors for always believing in our work.

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India is a country where society gives more attention and importance to girls getting married than their education. They start teaching household chores and cooking to prepare them to be a good wife, mother from their childhood. Since 2020, the number of child marriage cases  and the number of girls dropout in India is increasing day by day because of Covid-19.  Today we wanted to highlight one of our Shadhika alum’s journeys. Meet Reena from Delhi, she wanted to become a Nurse and Now she graduated from the Nursing field from the 2021 batch. Despite Covid-19, she has done a great job in her academy as well as in her community during this pandemic.

 During  her last year of nursing school, she attended online classes from 9 am to 5pm, she used to wake up early in the morning to complete her household chores before she sat for online classes. She always says, I am happy that I am getting support from Shadhika and I could complete my education. There are many girls in my community who don’t have laptop or internet access.

 In the beginning of the pandemic, in her community a few houses burnt due to cylinder blast and the nation was in a strict lockdown, but she went to help them with all the precautions. She collected clothes, food and necessary items from her community and donated them. Recently, during her internship she was in a Covid-19 Vaccine department,where she was giving vaccine doses. She says she convinced a lot of community people to get their vaccine and more than 30 people came to her hospital and got their vaccine.

 Just like Reena, we have many Shadhika scholars and alum who are now able to make their own decision to choose their degree, career and job. The Shadhika scholars are not just completing their education but they are spreading awareness, helping others and making an example in their community that Girls also can dream and make their dreams come true despite all challenges.

 

 

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India’s lockdown has been eased nowadays. In India, the number of Covid-19 cases is decreasing, but India is still getting 38k+ positive cases every day. People have started taking vaccines all over India though it’s difficult to get a slot for vaccination because states are lacking in vaccination doses.  People started working but school and colleges are still closed. Shops are open till 4 pm and local trains are only open for health workers. 

Shadhika Grantee partners have been providing strong support to participants and conducting online workshops where participants can learn something new, work on their skills, and have fun during virtual activities. 

Here’s the update on the Support for Success Program:

Community programming was hit hard with the strict lockdown. Activities were stalled for the first five months of the pandemic and were replaced with virtual welfare checks and material relief support to participants, including food, soap, and feminine hygiene products. Additional rapid relief response and budget reallocation helped NGOs to pivot program delivery and support participants beyond the scope of the original program plan. With indefinite school closures and online schooling, the threat of school dropout in girls and the gendered technology gap in synchronous learning spiked. Providing smartphones, the Internet, and the cost of schooling was critical to safeguarding girls’ education.

 The partner organizations continued to work in local communities while barely managing the pandemic's effects. Frontline staff working around the clock reported high rates of burnout and staff turnover. The financial flexibility Shadhika provided allowed NGOs to retain existing staff salaries and hire external contractors to provide additional resources like mental health services and create an online curriculum.

Last year, 4,363 young women were supported across 6 partner sites. 90% of young women successfully completed class 12 and 94% report holding and practicing a gender-equitable attitudes

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Girls learning to make sanitary pads
Girls learning to make sanitary pads

Shadhika implemented the Community Leadership Project component of the scholarship program in June, 2019 where 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 each other's conversations in person. The main goal of this leadership community project is to lead a project, to know things in detail, to be educated in specific topics fully and to spread awareness in themselves as well as in their community.

2020 and 2021 are different, difficult years and the situation is critical. Shadhika has moved fully to virtual engagement and trained our 2nd Year scholars in the Virtual Leaders for Change Summit 2020 on how to plan and conduct a community leadership project. They have learned all the procedures in a 3 days summit virtually, where they have planned their project, chosen their topic as per the community needs, they made a budget and started working on their project from December. In 4 months, they have completed their project with majority of the scholars doing virtual projects. Our Shadhika team was in touch with scholars during their project through calls and WhatsApp texts.

They have chosen their topics like such as; education, technology and health. One thing I have noticed, they have chosen one topic as per their community needs, as per current situation. They have been working on their project in detail from planning a little step to achieve their goal. I must say, now they are aware about Covid-19 and they made their plan according to the situation.

I want to share 2- 3 scholars community project. We have one scholar who chose “Right to Education” and she started her work with a google survey form and after completing her survey form, she had a conversation with each girl on phone call and was clearing their doubts related with Education. During that she get to know about one girl who is in her college. She has drop out because of her financial issue Covid-19 situation but our scholars took initiative and had a conversation with college principal and she said their college will be paying her fees, now she is studying. We feel so happy to hear this story of how confident and strong she is.

I have another story; one new scholar is in 2nd year and started her community project with no experience to lead this kind of project. After having a conversation, I realized she has so much potential and the way she explained about Mental Health issues was empowering. Yes, she chose this topic and she felt it is an important topic for all girls, she conducted a workshop at school and with all social distancing and protection, she led that project and answered girls’ questions related with Mental Health. Especially in this lockdown, girls had a lot of work to do - along with studying and avoiding drop out due to financial condition or maybe about their marriage.

I am so proud our Shadhika scholars are creating a space where they are learning and growing and supporting other community girls through their Shadhika community leadership projects. They are building confidence in themselves as well as others. Despite Covid-19 they know how to connect with girls using technology.

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Organization Information

Shadhika Project Inc

Location: Denver, CO - USA
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Project Leader:
Sabah Siddiqui
Denver, CO United States
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