Akshara

Context: In Mumbai slums, youth ages 15-24 constitute 50% of the population. One third of this population are marginalized youth who have been officially bracketed as Schedule Castes or Other Backward Castes and poor Muslims. Of these, 38% are young women who have received less than 10 years of formal education. Mumbai poses unique challenges to delivering quality education to the urban poor first-generation learners with limited access to public secondary schools. Girls in slums are deprived of post-secondary school education due to the lack of availability of vocational/skill education and socio-economic barriers which restrict their educational opportunities. As a consequence, they lack marketable skills to enter the formal workforce. In addition, violence against women, is significant.

Organization: Founded in 1995 with the goal of strengthening the capacity of women and youth to promote gender equality and human rights, Akshara works with women and youth from different walks of life (youth in local colleges, young women living in slums) and provides leadership development workshops, a free library, and online courses in women’s studies to empower women at the individual and community level to challenge and prevent gender based violence and discrimination.

Current Grant: EMpower’s 5th grant to Akshara enables adolescent girls to acquire technical, employability and leadership skills to become more competitive in the formal workforce.

India Contact: Nandita Gandhi and Nandita Shah Contact Email: gandhinandita@yahoo.com Website: http://www.aksharacentre.org/ Year Established: 1995