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.
Jun 21, 2013

One year of expanded activities

Teacher Training
Teacher Training

Dear Donors,

I hope this update finds you all well.

We recently completed the first year of the new, expanded version of this project. I am really happy to have the opportunity to share some of the key achievements with you.

Progress towards overall aim of project.

The project aims to help 10,000 Dalit children to escape the prospect of child labour by getting an education. Our project partner NISD’s great strength has always been successfully and creatively engaging all stakeholder groups, so that entire communities are involved in these new educational initiatives. This was the first year of an expanded project, and NISD have been able to replicate their previous success in these new villages.

Village Education Committees and Parent-Teacher Associations came into being and worked with local leaders to rally around a school enrolment drive and support the project generally. As a result, over 800 children have entered education, and thousands have been supported in remaining in school (see figures below) in a number of different ways.

The new sanitation element of the project suffered a setback, with only 321 toilets constructed due to the effects of drought. The toilets have had a significant impact on the practice of open defecation however, and many more will be constructed next year.

Women’s self-help groups meant that women could access loans, with almost 100 already generating their own income as a result. Vocational training meant that young people who had either finished school, or dropped out too early, had better prospects than following their parents into employment.

All of these activities serve to create communities which no longer depend on the noxious work of the tobacco industry, and are aware of the importance of education. This means there is more hope for the children of these villages than there ever has been to escape the grinding poverty they are in. Thank you for funding this life changing work. 

Major Achievements

  • 1,157 of the poorest children received free educational materials, encouraging them to attend school more regularly.
  • 2,257 children received supplementary nutrition.
  • 408 pre-school teachers received training on child care, nutrition, and ‘joyful education’, providing them with the skills to better care for and support young children.
  • 230 government school teachers received training, which improved learning and helped increase school attendance.
  • 1,372 people from the villages, organised into Village Education Committees, and Parent-Teacher Associations, as well as local leaders, came together and contributed to the school enrolment drive.
  • 896 children entered mainstream education.
  • 657 children benefited from study support classes which raised their confidence and interest in attending school.
  • 842 care givers were trained in ‘positive child care practices’, positively affecting the psychological and physical health of the children they care for.
  • 1,235 women organised themselves into 78 Self-Help Groups, with 254 of them accessing and using loans, and 98 of them generating income through their small business start-ups.
  • 204 young people have received vocational training with 133 of them accessing employment.
  • 21 schools have benefitted from infrastructural improvements thus creating a better learning environment and improving attendance.
  • An awareness raising campaign resulted in 312 toilets being constructed. 3,843 families have now stopped defecating openly and are using the toilets.
  • Overall, of the 5,715 schoolchildren currently where the project operates, 3,428 children’s attendance has increased to over 80%, while only 288 have an attendance of less than 40%.

We are now into the second year of activities, and I will soon be updating you as before, with stories from the ground.

The difference that is being made to these children's lives, and the communities they are in, could scarcely be more profound. 

 Thank you, as always for continuing to give your hard earned money to this life changing work. 

Women
Women's Self-Help Group Meeting
Vocational Skills - Tailoring
Vocational Skills - Tailoring
Vocational Skills - Electrician Training
Vocational Skills - Electrician Training
Jun 21, 2013

One year of project activities

Rally on Child Rights
Rally on Child Rights

Dear Donors,

I am delighted to be able to share with you an update on this year's cycle of activities, working with marginalised girls in the Vishrantwadi slums. 

Summary of activties and some achievements

The project has seen another successful year of new girls from the slum communities benefitting from the project activities. Many new girls have been attracted to the vocational training, through which many have found jobs, and are now financially independent.

Key achievements include: 1,100 girls attending life skills sessions to learn about nutrition; 104 girls being diagnosed as anaemic through health camps, 1,080 girls attending self-confidence and communication skills; and 376 girls  engaging in vocational training. Overall, the difference between the girls who are attending project classes and the others in the community are quite stark in terms of life skills, aspiration, confidence, and communication skills. 

The project has continued to build rapport and good relationships with local NGOs and government institutions, engaging in joint activities, maximising resources and sharing learning and best practice.

There has also been success in persuading parents whose daughters have dropped out of school to allow them to re-enrol. Enlisting parental support for the education of girls in these areas, as well as the study-support classes provided by the project, have played a major role in girls staying in school.

Changes to planned activities

  • Spoken English classes and additional study support classes were added to reduce the number of girls dropping out of school.  Recognising that the girls have nowhere to study in their crowded slum homes, and receive no support or encouragement, the project is providing a space where girls can do their work and ask questions. Girls are now interested in their studies.
  • This year, the project areas and beneficiaries were mapped. Every year there are some changes for the girls: some get married, some drop out of school, and very rarely, some move. This year each beneficiary’s house was numbered, and maps were made of the communities where the project operates. This allowed for much better monitoring of the beneficiaries and trends in the various communities where the girls live.
  • Child rights awareness sessions have been included in the curriculum, so that girls may know of their rights as children (to education etc.)

Future plans of the project

  • The project began operating this year in 3 new slum communities this year. This has proved very successful, and the project will continue to operate in these areas, slowly building trust with the girls and families of those communities.
  • Another aspiration is to develop a self-help group and micro-financing component to the project, for women (or married girls) of the slums. This would help disseminate important knowledge about health, nutrition and domestic violence, and also provide another means of economic empowerment and financial independence.
  • The project hope for some of the girls from these communities to go to nearby Karuna funded hostels. Some of the girls in the slums are very intelligent, but don’t have good environments to study in their homes. In the hostels they will receive guidance in a supportive atmosphere, and be eligible for government scholarships for their studies.

I will be updating you all soon with more stories from the ground. Without this work, most of these girls would have no chance of escpaing the slums, and the situation would not be much different for their children. Thank you, as always, for continuing to fund this life changing work.

haemoglobin check up.
haemoglobin check up.
Apr 19, 2013

Sunderbai's story

Sunderbai
Sunderbai

Dear Donors,

As I wrote last time, the expanded activities of the project this year have included sanitation awareness, and assisting in the construction of toilets. Curbing the practice of open defaction imporves both the health and the environment of the children, as well as others in the village. This month I would like to share with you the story of Sunderbai, who has been helped to construct a toilet by the project, and who's family are enjoying the benefits.

Sunderbai is a 52 year old, single, mother-of-two. She works in the bidi (cigar) rolling houses, and lives in Sukewadi village. Her eldest son is married and has a 2 year old child of his own. Her second son is in school. The money that Sunderbai obtains from her difficult, carcinogenic work is not enough to provide for the household.

Like many families in the village, Sunderbai's family previously had to defecate openly, not having access to toilet facilities. They used to have to walk long distances to defecate, so that they would not be seen. Nevertheless they would recieve a lot of abuse for engaging in this practice when they had little alternative. Things became worse when Sunderbai's daughter-in-law came to live with them. Because they could only go late night or early morning, much of the family experienced stomach problems, and Sunderbai herself lost a lot of money by having to take time off work and also pay medical bills.

When the project workers came to hear of her situation, she was a clear candidate for toliet construction support. A toilet was constructed, and Sunderbai and her family were shown how to use and look after it.

Now the whole family are very happy to have their own toilet which they can make use of at any time. The daughter in law feels much more comfortable in her new home, and relations with wealthier neighbours are now free from abuse and insults. The members of the family are now all able to reach their places of work and education on time, and can focus on their respective tasks. They have also learned a great deal about basic hygeine and sanitation through this intervention, and expenditure on health treatment has reduced so much that Sunderbai has even been able to save a little money (!)

These basic things which we take for granted mean so much in the daily lives of people who don't have them.

Thank you so much for supporting families such as Sunderbai's in this way.   

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