For over 26 years, the Udayan Care Ghars (Homes) have taken in orphaned, abandoned, and abused girls and boys throughout northern India. These homes differ from traditional orphanages and shelters in their focus on creating a family environment. Most Ghars are small, housing approximately 12 children who grow up as siblings in a permanent and stable home. This group of children is raised by Mentor Parents, who are their permanent guardians, as well as a team of caregivers, long-term volunteers, social workers, and mental health professionals. This extended family is committed to providing the kind of care that they would their own children, and this, more than any other feature, separates Udayan Ghars from other childcare placements. Ghar children receive the best possible education, attending some of the best schools in India. The care of mental health and medical professionals also helps to ensure that the children thrive despite their difficult beginnings. Once they turn 18, Ghar children are supported by the Udayan Aftercare Program, which funds higher education and vocational training as well as offers mentorship—all of which serve to promote economic dependence.
Since its inception in 1996, the Udayan Ghar program has nurtured and reared more than 1850 children and 189 young adults. Currently over 197 children and 52 young adults live at the 16 Udayan Ghars in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan.
This program provides disadvantaged women and youth with access to IT and vocational training—focusing on underserved communities that lack access to technology. These centers encourage digital literacy and supply job-oriented skills training, with courses ranging from basic computer skills to graphics, E-Accounting, and certifications in Microsoft and Adobe. Yet these programs, like all of Udayan Care’s programs, are holistic in focus. Along with marketable computing skills, students are taught interpersonal, leadership, and English-language skills to help them succeed in the professional world. Students also participate in workshops to help them find and maintain employment, and placement counselors work with pupils to help guide them through the job search, application, and interview process. For many graduates, these IT centers have served as an avenue to personal independence and financial self-reliance. Nearly 60 percent of enrollees are women, and for them, in particular, such opportunities can be life-changing.
The Udayan Shalini Fellowship is an intensive five-to-six-year program that provides financial, educational, and mentoring support to driven and intelligent young women whose families make less than $3,000 per year. In India, free schooling is only provided through the 10th grade, and this puts a high school degree and higher education out of reach for children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This is particularly true for girls, whose education rates beyond the 10th grade are staggeringly low. The Udayan Shalini Program enables talented and ambitious young women to beat the odds, ensuring that their financial circumstances do not limit their opportunities or success.
These Shalinis are selected through a rigorous examination and interview process to assess their need, ambition, and talent. Once a girl is admitted into the program, her school tuition is funded from 11th grade through college. She is also given a mentor to help guide her through these years of schooling and through her transition to independence and the workforce. At the same time, these young women attend seminars and workshops covering topics from personal hygiene to resume writing to confidence building.
These workshops teach skills but also foster the kind of fellowship that distinguishes the Shalini program; Shalinis learn as much from each other as they do from their schools, mentors, and instructors, and many continue to be involved in the program after they graduate, acting as mentors and even donors. But all Shalinis leave the program as better-educated, self-possessed, and independent young women—prepared and motivated to make a difference in their communities, succeed in the workforce, and help support their families. The term “Shalini” is a Hindi word meaning a dignified and empowered woman, and the goal of the USF program is to turn disadvantaged young women into true Shalinis.
Since its genesis in 2002, USF has supported some 11,500 disadvantaged young women. Today the program boasts 31 chapters in 15 different states: Agra, Aligarh, Aurangabad, Ahmedabad, Baddi, Bengaluru, Chennai, Delhi (North, South), Dehradun, East Delhi, Faridabad, Greater Noida, Gurugram, Haridwar, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata, Kurukshetra, Mumbai, Noida, Nasik, Panchkula, Phagwara, Pilani, Pune, Thane, Surat, East Mumbai, Vikarabad & Vadodara. In 2022-23 new chapters have opened in Aligarh, Surat, Kalol and East Mumbai, and more than 1,800 new girls were inducted into the USF program across India.
We believe that every story deserves to be told if it inspires others. With this Mission we initiated Shalini Talks, Powered by udayan care, telling stories/ real life experiences, challenges and motivations about inspiring people to change the world for the better. We deliver Power Stories and Content of Relevance by Selective young women who have converted their struggle into success by taking unprecedented paths, breaking stereotypes charged with strong determinations and focus.