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

February 27, 2024

She Creates Change Skill building Content and curriculum 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 remarkable changemakers featured in Room to Read's She Creates Change, the first nonprofit-led animation and live action film series to promote gender equality through the stories of young women around the world. The films feature the narratives of six courageous young women — Yashika among them — from historically low-income communities in Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tanzania and Vietnam, and profile how each girl confronts challenges unique to her life, like harassment, food scarcity or early marriage, by advocating for herself and her future.  

The She Creates Change film series aims to reach all 432 million adolescent girls globally with content and educational curriculum that supports them in creating change in their communities. 


Create change by donating $1 a day, or $30 a month, so that girls like Yashika can learn resilience, persist against harassment and become a role model for young women.  


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