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.
Nov 15, 2011

A view from the ground

Mina, project leader on the ground explains the crucial role that volunteers of Nishtha play in delivering the project’s activities – their struggle, determination, courage, and the fruits of their efforts. In Mina’s own words -

 "They have taken action to improve their environment, speak up against violence, and advocate for their rights. The women’s groups (Called Mahila Mandals) have mounted successful campaign against violence and alcoholism and have promoted community participation in all aspects of village decision making. These grass root groups have broadened the social network. The members of the groups, majority of whom are illiterate vegetable vendors and agriculture labourers, maid servants, and of whom a large number had sustained torture and humiliation everyday in their life; have not only brought themselves out of darkness, but have also given relief to fellow victimised women and brought them to light too.

Nishtha volunteers have built up groups of volunteers on different age group. The members of these groups are trained and oriented on various aspects to fight injustice against women and girls. As a result of four-tier pyramid groups and their grass root level work there has been significant reduction of reported cases of violence, atrocities and gender based discrimination against women.

Over the decades Nishtha has been working with the ever deprived girl children and women of the society. There are signs of improvement and changes. The poor women, members of the volunteer groups have to starve if they do not work for a day, have to work for 15 to 16 hours a day to earn two square meals. These women with their sincere love and devotion are putting their efforts to save the lives of their fellow deprived and tortured sisters. These women have never received any appreciation or recognition from any level; they do not expect recognition either. But these volunteers are the real ‘Heroes of the Day’ to us and to the victim women who received support and help from them."

Nov 15, 2011

Sandeep's Story

Child’s Name: Sandeep Dnyandev Kere

Village:  Nilwande

Education: 10th standard

Age :  18 years

 

Situation before joining the course

Sandeep was residing in Nilwande village which is far from town. His financial condition was very poor.   His father is a mason and mother does labour work, but their income is mostly dependent on the availability of work on that particular day.   His elder brother studied till 11th standard and now he is also doing farm work.  Sandeep has studied till 10th standard, but he failed in one subject. After that he did not go to school for the past two years and was instead helping parents with farming. 

 

Present Situation:

Sandeep heard about NISD through the project social workers. He decided to join the Electrical Repair & Maintenance of Household Appliances course. He attended the course regularly. He completed the course successfully. He has now started his own self-employment business. He recently got a contract to work in one of the houses in the village. Not only has this turned his life around and given him faith and confidence in himself, but he is able to also provide much-needed financial support to his family.

Oct 25, 2011

The action on the ground

I asked Mina, the leader of the project what exactly Nishtha does on the ground - a lot more than I had previously understood. Mina gave me a detailed insight, in her own words, of what is happening on the ground:

 

NISHTHA

Our organization Nishtha is a community based women’s organization which was born in the mid-seventies. Since then, its aim has been to empower women on their rights and empowering them to demand such rights.

 

NISHTHA’s focus of activities have been around education, especially for the girl children,  Anti trafficking programme,  Health & Nutrition programme, Formation of groups, Income Generation, free legal aid to victims of domestic violence,  Night shelter for sex workers children, Sustainable Agriculture and women, Advocacy and campaign, women’s rights on safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education.

 

Nishtha presently works in more than 300 villages in 5 blocks in the District of South 24 Parganas and Malda Districts of West Bengal. The programmes of Nishtha have made it a participatory resource centre for community women, youths and elderly. In brief, a few major areas of activities are:

q      Ensure every girl child to study in formal schools and do not drop out.

q      Support the girl students with learning materials, Tuition fees, etc. and monitor their Progress.

q      Vocational Training for girl children and young housewives.

q      Income generation programme for the members of village women’s grups.

q      Health clinics for adult, adolescents and aged women.

q      Nutrition Program — including supply of nutrition rich food.

q      Training and awareness on general and reproductive health, hygiene, sanitation, and environment.

q      Drinking water and toilet and sanitation facilities to schools, individual households and communities.

q      Awareness generation on safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

q      Formation of WATSAN Committees under leadership of women.

q      Sexuality and Reproductive Health Program for the youth and newlywed couples.

q      Training in sustainable agriculture to all members of farmer families to optimize food production, reduce use of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Adolescent volunteers act as promoters of bio-diversity.

q      Establishing women’s rights over fixed assets and their right to be recognized as a farmer.

q      Advocacy and campaign against violence and discrimination of women and girl children.

q      Provide free legal support to victims of violence.

q      Different BCC activities on child trafficking, child marriage and teenage and unwanted pregnancy, high rate of dropout amongst girl children,, domestic violence, etc. Special BCC activities are carried out on the problems on elderly women.  

q      Day Boarding and Night Shelter for Sex Workers’ children

q      Putting up fight against domestic violence and child marriage and social and legal rehabilitation of the victims.

q      Advocacy and campaign on the problems of the affected women and girl child of the land eroded areas by the side of river Ganga in Malda district.

q      All through the year, Nishtha conducts trainings on different issues and subjects for different group viz. group leaders, volunteers, group members, staff, farmers, representative of other organizations, etc.

 

Your support is what is enabling Nishtha to carry our all of these activities. 

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