Reshma, a scholar from Delhi, has her classes on Zoom from 9am-5pm every day. She must attend this live class, while her family sits in her room and watches TV. They don’t understand why she is on her phone all day – she gets pressure from them that this isn’t really “college”. In addition to the pressure and lack of privacy to study, Reshma also has to navigate doing household chores throughout the day. She is home, so she can help out, right?
Reshma tells me that it is expensive to pay for network on her phone. Many times, she runs out and luckily her scholarship can help pay for this.
These are common challenges among the scholars at Shadhika since the COVID-19 Pandemic has swept across India, causing a nationwide lockdown for months.
As we continue to shift our programming to meet the needs of our young women, technology has been the forefront of conversation with our partners and our young women. If these young women cannot access their online classes and are not able to submit assignments timely and of quality, there is potential for them to drop out of college. This consequence will lead to marriage and all the hard work that these young women have fought for will be taken away.
We are currently working with each scholar so this does not happen, but the likelihood for them to complete college without proper technology is slim. Our young women face a reality that is harsher than other college students – they have to navigate additional challenges at home that many others do not face. Like Reshma, household chores and taking care of siblings is an expectation while home, which makes college classes a challenge to make a priority. It was easier when the young women could travel to school – they were able to escape the reality at home and focus on their studies. We are working closely with our partners and young women to support them both emotionally and academically, helping to keep their spirits up and giving them the tools they need to succeed during this time.
Thank you for your generous donations to Shadhika’s COVID-19 fund. We hope that you can share this with your network so that we can continue to provide our young women with what they need so they do not fall behind.