Streeksha, a transformative education initiative owned by the Development Consortium (DC), is designed to address the gender disparities in professional education and enhance financial independence for women across North India, including Delhi, Uttarakhand, Bihar, and Rajasthan. This project recognizes the critical need to empower women through education and financial stability as a means to close the educational gender gap.


Despite a female literacy rate of 66 percent in India, female labor force participation remains low at only 27.2 percent. The disparity is more pronounced in professional education, where the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) for females lags behind males, especially in states like Bihar and Rajasthan. Streeksha aims to rectify these imbalances by providing targeted educational opportunities and support.

The project began in the Alwar district of Rajasthan as a small initiative by a local charity - Satish Kumar Shukla Memorial Trust (SKSMT). The main aim of the project was to bridge the gap between school education and financial independence by providing rural young women an opportunity to study beyond school and access higher/vocational education. The project aimed to do so by addressing key reasons behind young women dropping out after secondary education - lack of finances, family/social support, and gender norms.

Among the first initiatives under the project was the setting up of annual bursaries, as well as non-financial support (coaching, mentoring, advising), to academically meritorious rural young women for pursuing graduation and post-graduation at Delhi or other Indian universities under the Satish Kumar Shukla Memorial Scholarships. The scholarships set up in 2016 cover tuition fees and living expenses for undergraduate programmes at the Delhi (or other) University.

For it to grow in scale and become sustainable, enabling a larger group of female students, take strides towards higher education and bridge the current gaps to financial independence, the project was adopted by DC and launched the rechristened PROJECT STREEKSHA – EDUCATE to EMPOWER from July 2021.

Goals and Objectives

Streeksha's primary goal is to empower women through education, thereby enhancing their participation in the workforce and contributing to economic growth. Objectives include:

  • Increasing access to higher education for women through scholarships and financial aid.
  • Fostering a supportive ecosystem that overcomes financial, familial, and societal barriers to education for women.
  • Promoting gender equality in professional fields and empowering women to achieve financial independence.

Implementation Strategy

Streeksha employs a comprehensive strategy to achieve its goals:

  • Scholarships and Financial Support: Providing scholarships and monthly sustenance to overcome economic barriers.
  • Mentorship Programs: Establishing mentorship from successfully placed alumni to guide new candidates.
  • Continued Support: Offering guidance and support post-graduation to assist women in securing employment or starting entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Community and Family Engagement: Working to change societal norms and increase family support for female education.

Impact and Future Plans

Over the next few years, subject to the availability of funds, DC intends to:

  • Reach out to larger individual and institutional donors to partner and support the growth of the program; allowing the onboarding of a greater number of scholars from wider geographical regions; as well as build more evidence for the intervention and its impact.
  • Empanel schools in multiple states to create a pool of potential scholars, duly screened through the candidate selection process(es).
  • Create and disseminate skill-building modules for existing as well as prospective scholars such as English language skills; preparation for interviews; life skills etc.
  • Designing and collaborating with other organisations to offer our schools some upskilling opportunities.
  • Engage with state governments to enable us to work with the government-funded and supported schools to identify potential scholars.
  • Organize workshops during the year to analyze the aptitude and potential recruitment of candidates.

Read about the journey of first Streeksha scholar Annu Kumari here.