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.
Aug 6, 2013

Kajal goes to school

Kajal and her family
Kajal and her family

Kajal’s situation is a common one among so many of the children in these villages. Her parents and 6 siblings barely survive financially. They make money by collecting and selling branches of the neem tree, which people use to clean their teeth. They have a total monthly income of 2,000 rupees (about £22) and live in a hut which they have constructed themselves.

Kajal desperately wanted to go to school. She saw clearly that following in the footsteps of her parents meant to remain trapped in a life of poverty. However, school enrolment fees of 510 rupees, in addition to the cost of study materials, meant that school was not an option for her. Instead, she spent her time collecting neem tree branches with the rest of her family.  

Last month, during a rally that was taking place in her village, she met some of the project staff. She explained her wish to attend school, but that her family’s poverty meant she could not. After speaking to Kajal’s family, and hearing about the situation from them, the project staff began work. First, they negotiated with the Headmaster of the local school to allow Kajal to attend, in spite of her inability to pay fees. They then arranged educational material and a uniform for Kajal, so that she was equipped to pursue her dreams of studying.

The project staff are in regular contact with the family. There is little change in their living circumstances, but for over a month now Kajal has been happily attending school. She is already talking about completing her education and helping to improve her family’s financial situation.

Kajal is one of many thousands of children which this project is helping. Thank you for supporting this life-changing work. 

Aug 6, 2013

Pratibha - My children will study

Pratibha
Pratibha

Not all of the girls who live in the slums are fortunate enough to benefit from the interventions offered by this project. In fact most are not, and so end up marrying while they are very young and dropping out of school. This was the case for almost all of the girls a few years ago, before project activities began here. Now the situation is slowly changing. 

For the young women who had no opportunity to escape early marriage and domestic servitude, the project provides them with a chance of improving their situation. Many come to project activities, benefitting from an environment of peers (most of the women seldom leave their houses before attending), sharing their stories, and giving assistance and support to the staff and the younger girls. Some take part in the skills development courses to improve their own situations.

Pratibha is 28. She is married with 4 children and lives with her husband and mother in law. They live in the Bhimnagar slums, Vishrantwadi, in a small house of one room with a tin roof. Her husband is a driver and his 6,000rs (£64) a month salary doesn't quite cover the basic needs of the family. 

Prabhita wanted her children to study so they would not have to struggle as they parents do. They saved as much money as they could and the children were going to school, but there was no money for their books, and not enough for oil to cook food.

Then one day Pratibha spoke to a neighbour of hers who had attended sewing classes, Motivated by the wish to educate her children, she was inspired to do the same and started going along. 

She has now been attending classes for 6 months, and has gained a lot of confidence and new experiences through leaving the house and socialising with other women. In terms of income, she can earn up to 120rs a day for sewing things for others, and this 3,000rs or so a month raises the household income by half.

They can now afford both food and books and educational materials for the children. Pratibha says the house is also more peaceful now there is not the pressure of making sure there was enough money every day. The relationship with her mother in law is much improved now that she is able to contribute to the family financially. Furthermore, she has made a lot of new friends, and is confident that with the support of those around her, her business can grow. 

Now Pratibha is happy, her home is peaceful, and her children stand a chance of escaping the poverty which binds their parents.

Thank you, as always, for funding this life changing work.

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

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