Shakti Shalini2020-12-03T10:13:52-07:00

Shakti Shalini • India


Shakti Shalini was founded in 1987, after Ms. Satyarani Chadha and Ms. Shahjahan Apa’s young daughters were brutally murdered, burned alive by their in-laws due to insufficient dowry. The shared tragedy bound the two mothers to each other and launched them into a fierce battle against gender violence.

Shakti Shalini began with two key services: counseling and a shelter home for women in distress in Delhi, the first non-governmental shelter India had ever seen.

Decades later, Shakti Shalini continues to support survivors of gender and sexual violence. They also work with communities to prevent everyday violence and promote gender equality, individual choice and dignity.


Shakti Shalini harnesses a two-pronged approach, response and prevention, to holistically combat gender and sexual violence and promote gender equality.

Response Services

  • A shelter home (“Pehchan”) for women in distress and survivors of gender-based violence;
  • A Crisis Intervention and Counseling Center (CICC), providing support and counseling to survivors, irrespective of their gender and sexual orientation, who have experienced physical or psychological abuse;
  • A Rape Crisis Line run by Shakti Shalini and the Delhi Commission of Women (DCW), serving approximately 30-35 survivors each month.

Preventative Services

  • Community Outreach Programs directly negotiating and communicating with the residents of disadvantaged communities in Delhi. This aims to bring about ideological and cultural change in favour of gender equality and zero tolerance to violence;
  • A center for skills development, Kushalta Vikas Kendra (KVK), offering vocational training and remedial educational classes aimed at equipping survivors and other community members with key skills to combat violence;
  • An initiative Shakti Shalini calls “Artivism” (Art for Activism), to use the arts as sites of therapy, awareness and activism for social change.
  • A multilingual literature platform, called “Darmiyan,” that shares life narratives of individuals who have endured, resisted, fought and survived various forms of violence and found support through Shakti Shalini. The platform was started as an attempt to shed light on violence that had become far too normalized, with the hope of facilitating awareness, discussion and change.


GoPhilanthropic Foundation began partnering with Shakti Shalini in 2016. Since then, the GoPhil community has helped make key program enhancements possible by providing guidance and support to:

  • Improve Shakti Shalini administrative and accounting systems to run programs more efficiently and effectively;
  • Fund salaries of core staff members;
  • Launch the Kushalta Vikas Kendra (KVK) training center and contribute to running costs;
  • Expand the KVK Skills Development Program, making essential vocational training available to more survivors and community members;
  • Build organizational capacity in key areas such as fundraising, budgeting and measuring impact.


While many organizations prioritize their reach in favor of higher statistics, Shakti Shalini focuses instead on the quality of care and outcomes. Shakti Shalini treats all people with utmost dignity and respect for individuality. Their support is personalized, comprehensive and long-term when needed.

Shakti Shalini’s open, collective and progressive values stand in stark contrast with hierarchical and patriarchal norms that are deeply embedded in the communities where they work. Their programs generate discussion on highly sensitive topics, one example being the rights of the LGBTQIA+ community, which many other organizations in India shy away from. They approach these topics in a delicate manner and employ creative strategies to reach isolated populations without putting anyone at additional risk. For example, many women who participate in their skills classes say it’s their only chance to engage with people outside their own families – their mere presence at the center is groundbreaking as it creates an opportunity for discussion, learning and additional support.



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