Sarika Saksena is a junior studying Business Administration and Women's Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
She has spent 3 years of her life in New Delhi India, and has visited India every year since she was a young girl. After witnessing the plight of many women in India, she had a vision to help disadvantaged women become self-sufficient and self-reliant: ‘A Pay Forward System’ in which each woman learning candle-making would teach other women the skill with one thousand candle makers becoming ten thousand and so on. And thus was born 'UJALA,' which in Hindi means "bright light."
Sarika has interned for several years at Ashoka, based in Washington DC. Ashoka has helped Ujala instill changemaker skills in thousands of women, and today, Ashoka is the fiscal sponsor for Ujala, providing a major platform for Ujala to turn dreams into reality for millions of women living in some of the poorest, most oppressed parts of India. Sarika has also been the recipient of the Social Entrepreneurship Award at Gunn High School 3 years in a row, President's Gold Volunteer Service Award, and AXA Leadership scholarship. She is a Westley Prize Nominee and was recently awarded Ashoka's Outstanding Changemaker of the Year Award.
Her journey continues. Today, as a junior at the University of California, Berkeley, she is proud and humbled by her life-changing and powerful 6 year journey as a Changemaker and will continue to devote the rest of her life to continue helping marginalized women!