We envision of a world without exploitation, oppression, discrimination and injustice against women or any other section of society.
We aim to focus on issues of girls and women through educational programmes, resource creation, research, training, campaigns and networking.
Creating impact on future generations
Girls at all Vacha community centres bring out bi-annual newsletters in their respective communities. Programme participants from some communities will release their 25th issue in August 2021.
Older girls emerge as leaders and ideal role models for the younger programme participants thereby inspiring them to carry out community action with the needed optimism.
Girls are empowered with skills such as planning, critical thinking, fund-raising, budgeting, networking and problem-solving.
Girls have advocated and protested against early marriage; continuing education; and scholarship support has further helped them pursue higher education.
Girls who have been part of our Girls' Empowerment Programme have pursued diverse careers in law, social work, para-medical, interior designing, fashion designing, finance and information technology.
Over the years, Vacha has reached out to hundreds of thousands of intersectionally deprived adolescent girls and youth from disadvantaged backgrounds.
Established as a Library & Women’s Resource centre. Registered as a Trust two years later.
Production of Music Albums and two documentaries of women from the National Independence Movement
Shifted focus to adolescent girls as a preventive measure to combat violence. Establishment of Girls’ Resource Centre in a state-run school
Organized first gender and health fair for girls from state-run schools & expanded to Sangli in Maharashtra and Valsad in South Gujarat
Action Research and publication on Gender bias in Education of Girls from Poverty affected families
First National Symposium on Girls & Girlhood and Formation of the Youth Council
Published Rights of Adolescent Girls in India and expanded our work to Thane and Palghar district
Chosen as a Coordinator of Learning Community Coalition of Adolescent Girls across NGOs in Mumbai. Published a booklet on 'Puberty, Poverty and Gender' - Girls' Experiences of Menstruation.
Released Report on External Evaluation of Vacha
Vacha moved to its own office space at Andheri
Sonal Shukla received the Mahatma award for Social Good 2020 by Aditya Birla Group
Sonal Shukla recognised as An Icon of the Women’s Movement in India by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung.
Establishing a Permanent Youth Library and Resource Centre in Dombivali
Publishing a Book on 'Girls' Voices from Margins- Negotiating the Present, Claiming the Future
Founder (1941 – 2021)
On September 9, 2021 Founder Trustee Ms. Sonal Shukla breathed her last. She left behind a formidable legacy of activism for Gender Justice. Until her very end, she motivated and inspired women from all walks of life to stand up for their rights and support one another in their quest for a more equitable society.
She was actively involved with Indian Women’s Movement from its inception and wrote extensively on women's issues in Gujarati newspapers for over four decades. She was also on the editorial boards of the interdisciplinary journal published at Montreal , "Girlhood Studies", and of the quarterly, "Quest in Education", published by Indian Council of Basic Education, Mumbai. She was a recipient of the various awards for her work on women's issues over the years. In 2021, Sonal Shukla was recognised as a Feminist Icon in India by Friedrich Ebert Stiftung, for their Gender Justice hub in Asia and has also received the Mahatma award initiated by the Aditya Birla Group for her work in Gender Equality.
Sonalben, as she was known, was synonymous with Vacha. She used different creative mediums such as poems, songs and storytelling to impart complicated messages on Gender issues. She constantly encouraged girls and women to read, absorb and discuss issues that hindered a just and violent free society. Apart from emphasising the need for solidarity among women centric organisations and individual activists, Sonalben focussed her attention on adolescent girls who she believed needed to play an important role in ushering in the change in our society.
In 1987 Sonalben, Dineshwari Thonse, Nina Haeems and Meenal Patel started Vacha as an experiment that combines non formal education with participatory action and research to initiate social change. It was later registered as a Trust in the year 1990.
Under Sonalben’s visionary leadership, VACHA channelised collective energies in empowering economically disadvantaged adolescent girls in Mumbai and Thane districts through education, skill training and exposure programmes along with a focus on livelihood issues.
VACHA’s programmes dwelled on empowerment, self-care, recreation while stressing on the importance of education among girls. She personally counselled and encouraged women survivors of violence, girls facing constraints and housewives facing restrictions, to set high goals for themselves and achieve the goals with support from other women. Sonalben will be dearly missed by everyone of us. The Board of Trustees are grateful for her guidance and leadership over the years and vow to continue to work towards a world without exploitation, oppression, discrimination and violence against women or any other section of society.
Co-Founder and Managing Trustee
Board of Trustees
Co-Founder and Managing Trustee
Co-founder and Trustee
Dr. Veena Devasthali
Trustee – Treasurer
Dr. Vibhuti Patel
Honorary Co-Project Director
Associate Project Director
Head of Finance and Administration
Assistant Projects Director
District Coordinator – Mumbai
Monitoring and Evaluation In-Charge
The Social Impact-Athon Mumbai Award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment by North Eastern University, USA and Edelgive Foundation
Vacha received 6th Annual Champions of Youth Award by EMpower Foundation at New York
Vacha won the Dasra Girl Power Award in Life Skills Category for its work with adolescent girls
Spark and Ignite Grant was awarded to Vacha for innovative work with girls by Empower, USA
Vacha was one of the 12 global winners of Girl Effect Challenge, Global Giving in partnership with Nike, for work with adolescent girls
Awarded certificate of appreciation for Documentation from Bombay Community Public Trust