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From self-defense to self-confidence: Meet Yashika from She Creates Change

April 18, 2023

Girls' Education She Creates Change India

Imagine walking to school every day in the dark hours of the morning, without any streetlights to guide the way. There are no sidewalks or school buses, so walking along rough gravel roads is the only way to get there. Sometimes there are people out on the streets, but they are not always friendly, and your parents often worry so much about your journey that they beg you to stop going to school altogether. This is the story of Yashika, a Room to Read Girls’ Education Program graduate from India who learned to advocate for herself and fight for access to her education.


Yashika: A story about resilience 

Yashika's route from home to class was so dangerous that it stood in the way of her education
but she was determined to fight, quite literally, to stay in school. She had learned in a Room to Read life skills class how to advocate for herself and knew there just had to be a safe way to get to school. Instead of giving up, she asked the local leaders for support and they listened.  

One day, Yashika had the opportunity to take a self-defense class for girls. Standing in front of the class was the teacher, a powerful and strong woman. “If she can do it, why not me?” she thought to herself. The next day Yashika signed up.  

People in her town teased Yashika and her family. “Karate is a boy’s sport” they’d say. Her parents pressed her to quit, but she remained calm. “Confidence does not come at once. It is a gradual process. By doing karate I learn to never give up, no matter my challenges.” Before she knew it, she won a tournament! Then another and another.  

Read Yashika’s Full story in the free She Creates Change book

Yashika's story illustrates the transformative power of life skills and individualized mentorship in creating waves of change — for adolescent girls like Yashika, their families and their communities. 





Yashika is one of the girls featured in She Creates Change, Room to Read’s multimedia storytelling initiative to promote gender equality through the stories of young women. The project includes six animated and live-action films that profile how brave young women like Yashika in historically low-income communities have used key life skills and individualized mentorship to overcome obstacles in their lives from food scarcity to harassment to early marriage. She Creates Change aims to inspire young women everywhere to see themselves as the heroes of their own stories.


Watch the official trailer!