Karuna Trust

Our vision is of a world without prejudice, in which every human being has the opportunity to fulfil their potential, regardless of their background or beliefs. We aim to do this by challenging the ignorance and prejudice that trap people in poverty.
Jan 27, 2015

Preeti Growing and Thriving

Daughters are often not as valued as sons in India. Traditional rural attitudes say that it is better to educate and care for boys. One of the aims of the project team is to educate the local community on the value of girls to the family and society as well as the benefits of keeping girls in education and out of early marriage. Preeti’s story shows what fantastic work the team are doing:

Preeti, two years old, lives with her mother and two elder sisters in a two roomed hut in the district of Ahmednagar in Sangamner. Preeti’s mother is out all day working as an agricultural labourer. Her father travels for work. The family have very little money. As a result of the lack of care and resources, Preeti went uncared for. When the project team first learned of Preeti in May 2014 she was just 6.5kg and was clinically diagnosed as severely malnourished.

The project team met with Preeti’s mother and convinced her to send Preeti to the team’s paediatric camps for malnourished children as well as the enrolling her in the local preschool centre. As per the doctor’s advice Preeti was proscribed supplementary nutrition to bring her back to full health. Project team members also alerted the local women’s self-help group to the family’s situation. The women members of the group visited the home to offer Preeti’s mother support and advice.

With careful monitoring by the project doctor Preeti is slowly being brought back to full health. She has gained 2kg and though she still has weight to put on to be fully healthy she is making good progress. She comes daily to the preschool centre and has made very good friends there.

Preeti’s mother has also benefited massively. She is a regular member of the local women’s self-help group and now works to convince others of the equal value of women and girls to society. She is hugely grateful to the project and all its supporters for the transformation she has been able to achieve.

Jan 9, 2015

Programme Managers Visit

Recently, Jonathon Clark, Karuna Trust Programme Manager for the project visited the team in India to monitor the work and offer guidance. Here are his thoughts on the recent anti-violence against women campaign carried out by the project:

"When I visited, the team were in the middle of a fortnight long campaign focussing on the issue of violence against women. The campaign has been organised through the Maitri network; a network of women’s organisations from different parts of India that was set up and facilitated by Karuna Trust. The network enables representatives of women’s organisations to come together to share their experiences and organise nationwide campaigns on issues of relevance to women from dalit and other marginalised backgrounds. Involvement in this network has enabled the project team to broaden the scope of their work. After three years of working intensively at a grassroots community level they are now extending their awareness raising activities to  include police, teachers and local schools. This is allowing them to have a broader impact on the issues affecting the lives of their beneficiaries.

The team was obviously very excited by the campaign, and feeling confident and empowered. Over the previous week the team had organised a rally of 200 women and girls that was covered by all the local papers. They also conducted an awareness raising session with 100 teachers on the Sexual Harassment Act and Domestic Violence Act; awareness raising sessions with 700 adolescent boys on the theme of respect for women; and two sessions with local police on domestic violence and sexual harassment involving 100 local policemen. Earlier in the month they had organised a training in Pune for representatives of 40 other women’s organisations from different parts of India, focussing on the Domestic Violence Act and recent legislation on sexual harassment.

The project leader Karunaprabha expressed her satisfaction “Before we felt we were working in isolation but now we are able to learn from other organisations and use their experience to take our work to a new level. Now we are even able to become a leading women’s organisation and provide leadership and training to other organisations. I am now doing things I never dreamed I’d be able to do."

Jan 9, 2015

Pintu goes to school

Pintu, aged 6, lives in a small mud hut with his parents, two brothers and one sister. His family are from a Nomadic Tribe, a highly excluded community in India who are often denied their most basic human rights. Pintu’s Dad earns money selling small plastic goods and his Mother works in a cloth shop. Both parents are away from home throughout the day and are unable to care properly for Pintu. Being uneducated and illiterate themselves, Pintu’s parents saw little point in enrolling him in school and providing him with an education.

An essential aspect of the projects work is to carry out enrolment drives throughout the region. Local communities are taught the importance of keeping their children in school. They are taught the dangers of child labour and early marriage. The team use mass postering, local meetings and family visits to convince parents of the benefits of education.

As part of the campaign the project had sent a letter to Pintu’s parents encouraging them to enrol him in the local primary school. They followed up with a personal visit to the family. Pintu’s parents agreed to receiving help from the project team to enrol Pintu. Because the family could not afford it, the team also agreed to provide Pintu with educational material such as bags, uniform and stationary.

After overcoming some initial hesitation Pintu attends school regularly and is doing very well. He has become popular amidst his class mates and was elected class monitor. The project team make regular school visits to discuss Pintu’s progress with his teachers. They also provide support to his parents. Though they themselves did not receive an education they have seen the benefit in their son and are happy to keep him in school.

Thanks to the project and its supporters Pintu and other Dalit and Nomadic children like him will receive a full education. This would not have been possible without your support.

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