by Allegra Mangione, GoPhil Development & Marketing Coordinator

GoPhil partner Shakti Shalini supports survivors of gender and sexual violence through direct response and prevention. They work with local communities to prevent everyday violence and promote gender equality, individual choice, and dignity. Shakti Shalini runs a “Pehchan” shelter for women who experienced gender-based violence, the first of its kind in Delhi.

We maintained regular contact with Shakti Shalini throughout the COVID-19 crisis. They immediately responded to the needs of the six communities where they work, many of whom are migrant families who could not access government rations distributed to the public without a registered Delhi address. Throughout the pandemic, Shakti Shalini has seen a rise in domestic violence in the communities where they work. Shakti staff have continued to house survivors of sexual violence in the Pehchan shelter and to keep survivors engaged in skills development through KVK, their skills development program. Shakti Shalini also extended their emergency helpline to 24/7.

In their most recent report, Shakti Shalini shared that they are making progress in delivering online skills development classes. Most women staying in the shelter can now access online courses without staff support. They have continued to offer photography, English, life skills, and Zumba. In August, they offered a mask-sewing workshop with a renowned fashion designer, Reemly Mohanty.

A few volunteers have taken the initiative on exciting projects, including “Project Veera” and “Carry-Ubble.”

Project Veera is a line of t-shirts that feature artwork portraying the challenges women and members of the LGBTQIA+ community face. All proceeds from the t-shifts are reinvested into Shakti Shalini’s mission.

“Carry-Ubble” teaches women how to make bags out of recycled Stubble farm waste that is otherwise burnt, emitting harmful smoke into the air. This initiative is crucial as Dehli remains the world’s most polluted capital city. The bags are sold to create income for participants.

Shakti Shalini also coordinated a survey for families in the community to understand their heightened needs due to COVID-19. During the survey process, it became clear that families needed a second round of emergency relief support. Many families did not have government-issued ration cards migrants, renters, single women, and widowed women and did not have enough food. Shakti Shalini delivered food and essential supplies to 191 families in three days.

With the shelter currently being run by a limited staff, Shakti Shalini’s skills development  (KVK) team continue to support Pehchan participants with psychosocial support over the phone, ensuring their needs are met and that they have the resources they need to work towards their goals. Transitioning into 2021, Shakti Shalini plans to focus on their KVK program: providing high-quality computer, sewing, beauty culture, and theater classes to survivors of sexual violence.

GoPhil has committed to supporting Shakti Shalini’s KVK skills development team salaries in 2021.

Will you help connect survivors of domestic, sexual, and gender-based violence to the valuable skills training they need to thrive?