Through a 14 session module and a self-run project, the Shakti program empowers and builds the resilience of disadvantaged, vulnerable girls. Shakti enables them to design and run their own community projects and experience the power of collective action, so that they can bring about change both in their communities, and to their own lives.
- out of school or likely to drop out
- dare to dream, aspire to study and work
- married off as early as 13 or 14
- feel more confident about resisting child marriage
- exploited, often working in dangerous situations and for long hours
- isolated, struggling with abuse or violence
- susceptible to early pregnancies and contracting HIV
- not confident, dare not challenge traditional practices or speak up in front of their families
- develop and run their own community projects, affect changes in the community, talk and negotiate with authorities and family, and thus understand that they can make a change in their own lives!
What Shakti does
Till date, 138 Shakti community projects have been initiated by girls. While some have run for two years, some have been short and intense. And all have demonstrated that Shakti girls can make a difference.
- Twelve girls in Govandi, one of Mumbai's largest slums, started a school readmission program that admitted over 750 children to school
- Handpumps in Patna, Bihar: Fifteen girls from Haridaspur in Patna, Bihar managed to get the local Ward Officer to commit to another handpump, solving their problem of carrying heavy buckets of waters over long distances every day. Read more about Shakti projects »
The Shakti process
We have developed a replicable model with tools that can be used to empower vulnerable girls in risky neighbourhoods across India.
- Reaching vulnerable girls: Peer leaders and community girls themselves refer and induct more girls into the group - be it friends, sisters, neighbours or cousins. “We know the ones who don’t go to school or have no friends or who are having a hard time at home.” Meet our peer leaders »
- Inspiring and Informing: The Shakti workbook offers a 14 session program that combines creative activities, discussions, and assignments. Small groups of five to ten girls do a workbook together with a peer leader. The workbook is designed to take girls on a journey starting with looking at “the self”: dreams, study and work aspirations, personal safety relationships as well as help them understand their broader, macro-environment to include information on rights, women’s movements and their community. See how a session in the Shakti Workbook look like »
- Activating Groups: By the time the workbook is finished, Shakti girls have developed their own community projects. From anti-child marriage projects to educational drives, from sanitation to those concerned with basic amenities, these community projects help Shakti girls to connect with their communities on different levels. Read more about Shakti projects »
- Sustaining Peer support networks: Shakti Circles are driven by peer leaders and are designed to ensure that the girls stay motivated about their educational and vocational goals as well as their community projects. The Shakti Peer Leader Training Toolkit helps ensure that Shakti Circles combine fun, updates, incentives and rewards along with exercises to “rehearse” challenging situations at home, in school or in society.
We work with various community-based organizations to further roll out the Shakti Program in more communities and to refer Shakti girls with specific needs (like education or counseling on abuse) to our support partners. Shakti partners include Prerana and CHIP (Mumbai and Kolkata), Meljol (Akola), and Humari Muskaan (Kolkata).
To know more about the Shakti Training Toolkit or the Shakti Peer Leader Toolkit click here »
Today Shakti runs in Mumbai and Akola district and we have just started with groups in Kolkata and Patna. Next year, we want to be present in five cities, reaching 5,000 girls, and in 2014 in 10 cities helping 15,000 girls find their Shakti. If you want to support the roll-out of Shakti click here »
At present, Shakti runs in Mumbai, in Akola district, Kolkata and Patna. Next year, we aim to be present in 5 cities (Mumbai, Patna, Lucknow, Bhubaneshwar and Kolkata), reaching out to 5,000 girls, and by 2014, extend our reach to 10 cities, thereby helping 15,000 girls find their Shakti.
If you want to support the roll-out of Shakti click here »