Narrative Report from GoPhil Partner Shakti Shalini

Shakti Shalini is a Delhi based NGO that actively works to prevent all forms of gender and sexual violence. Shakti Shalini believes in equality between all genders thus the approach is inclusive of men, women and the LGBTQAI* community. Shakti Shalini employs four mechanisms, namely Response, Prevention, Education Enhancement and Darmiyan (a literary blog) in order to curb violence and promote an ethos of zero tolerance to violence.

The following narrative from Shakti Shalini staff offers a biannual overview of their skills development centre for combating violence (KVK) from the months of January to June 2020. As the nationwide lockdown in India commenced towards the middle of March, the report consists mostly of how KVK coped with these new situations, and how they managed to provide constant support to Shakti Shalini participants by never pausing learning during the pandemic.


Kushalta Vikas Kendra is the skill development centre for combating violence, which falls under the preventive mechanism of Shakti Shalini. The objective of KVK is to build skills and create gender sensitivity among participants through educational classes so that they learn a zero tolerance to violence and come out of KVK empowered, more sensitive and taking charge of their own lives.

From the graph below it can be seen that KVK and Artivism activities expanded throughout the last several months which was possible completely because of the support of GoPhilanthropic donors.

There are various classes running in KVK, including:


Artivism, as the name suggests, is activism through art. Artivism is a sister project of KVK and goes hand-in-hand. The objective of Artivism is two fold: one is to give each person therapeutic healing throughout their journey and the second and the most important is to build each person as more awakened, able to question the status quo and raise their voice against injustice.


One of the oldest courses provided by KVK, Cutting & Tailoring is thriving even during the pandemic with participation from five different communities in South East Delhi and the residents staying in the Pehchan shelter. Some participants have taken the opportunity to practice the skill at home as well during the lockdown.


Beauty culture is another vocational training conducted in KVK wherein participants from nearby communities as well as Shakti Shalini’s Pehchan shelter participate together. Beauty Culture could not continue with services due to the pandemic, but the program took this valuable time to revamp pricing and packages with a fresh market analysis in order to strengthen the base of the apprenticeship program when it reopens.


With the help of GoPhil Shakti Shalini staff were able to kickstart computer classes. They started computer class in January with two batches: one for adolescent boys and girls, and another class for adults.


English class is one of KVK’s educational classes wherein the focus is not just restricted to English reading, writing, speaking and understanding, but also to Literature as a way of empowering an individual in questioning and forming a critical perspective. They offer English classes twice a week and try to keep some homework so that the chain is not broken after the classes. The aim of the English classes is to develop one’s faculties of speaking, writing and reading English so that it is easier to get jobs, communicate and read relevant material when the need arises.


Shakti Shalini’s Life Skill class is also one of the oldest educational classes in KVK. The aim is to armor participants with all of the necessary skills to reach their potential in everyday life. It not only helps them to understand the practicalities of life or technicalities of a task, but also helps them in taking full charge of their lives.


In collaboration with Enactus PGDAV Delhi, Shakti Shalini organizes and conducts notebook making classes wherein volunteers from PGDAV college come to KVK after their classes and teach the participants the skill of making notebooks.


Started during the last quarter of 2019, General Awareness has been one of the favorite sessions for participants because of the diversity of the activities conducted. It includes a varied range of activities from exposing participants to social issues and mental health exercises, providing them with a sense of self and societal awareness.


With the support of GoPhilanthropic Shakti Shalini staff were able to commence theatre classes on a permanent and regular basis from the month of March with a very enthusiastic group of women and girls (accompanied by children, equally excited!) and five facilitators from Pandies’ Theatre. The objectives were to create a safe space for dialogue, creative expression and critical thought using theatre as the primary medium of facilitation.

The first session went well with a few ice breakers setting the tone of playfulness that would drive future sessions. However, too soon after starting the theatre sessions, the future turned bleak as COVID-19 swept the globe. In the wake of the pandemic, everyone went into lockdown both physically and emotionally. Staff quickly reimagined the changing reality of theatre workshops as all modes of communication shifted to online and virtual spaces.

One facilitator shared: “This new virtual interface was quite opposite to the basic nature of our work with participants: cold instead of warm, distant instead of forthcoming and voyeuristic instead of participatory. A large chunk of our work became heavily dependent on verbal conversations since the screen leaves very little to be desired of silences.”


Zumba is one activity that is happening everyday since the nationwide lockdown has been extended and is still continuing. The demand for Zumba sessions came from the participants themselves and the sessions have proven to lighten up and energize the mood of the residents staying at Pehchan shelter.


In addition to KVK classes, Shakti Shalini staff have remained committed to participants and their communities during the pandemic.

Food relief work was conducted in the South-East district of Delhi in the following communities: Nehru Nagar Block 7, Block 10. Aadiwasi Camp and Jal Vihar and to KVK participants (current and former) coming from these communities. Shakti Shalini has been rigorously working in these communities for many years. These communities consist of people who have migrated from rural areas to urban settlements for better employment and living conditions.

“Most of the migrant workers and people living on rent don’t have ration cards, and thus have no access to dry rations from the public distribution shops set up by the government. We prioritized families based on their need for rations, current living conditions, and determining who didn’t have ration cards for the ration distribution. Though, considering the backgrounds and living conditions of the people living these communities almost every family is in need.”

The organization recognized the need for ration distribution in these communities when the lockdown extended. Though it was a challenge for the community outreach workers and the KVK team to enter the communities and identify the families in need, with the help of Shakti Shalini Community Change Agents, essentially the protection committee for all Shakti Shalini participants, they came up with a list of vulnerable families living with little to no rations.


We wish to express our sincere thanks to all GoPhil donors who have so actively supported GoPhil partners since the COVID-19 crisis began. It is with your ongoing care that we can gracefully continue sharing these incredible stories of success.

If you wish to continue supporting Shakti Shalini or other GoPhil partners, please make a donation at the link below.