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.
Oct 4, 2011

Nishtha wins Award

We are very pleased to hear that Nishtha, our partner in India who implements this project have one an award. The title that they won is 'Volunteer Involving NGO of the year', conferred onto them by the Appejay India Volunteer Awards 2011.

In practice, this aware celebrates how Nishtha is capacity-building and entrusting local volunteers at all levels of the project. For example, volunteers are involved at a grassroots level during the planning of projects, and then go on to help with implementation - be it as peer educators, community mobilisers and women's group facilitators.

 

Karuna is very pleased and proud to be affiliated with Nishtha, who are changing the lives not only of adolescent girls in West Bengal, but are giving local people the opportunity and capacity to contribute to the upliftment of disadvantaged people.

Oct 4, 2011

High Hopes

Name:  Sunil Vitthal Ghule

Village:  Pokhari

Course - Electrical & Home Appliances Repair

Education: 9th standard

Age:  21Yrs.

Situation before participating in the project:  Sunil resides in Pokhari village. His father is doing labour work, his mother does house work and his elder brother is in the first year of his degree course. Sunil failed in the 9th standard and he left school.  He used to do jobs like feeding the cows and getting water or go with his father for labour work. 

 

Sunil failed in 9th std and stopped going to school. Project staff tried convincing him to go to school, but did not succeed.  When NISD staff were giving information about vocational training courses to be started for the youth, his mother was present.  She gave information about the course to Sunil and motivated him.  Sunil was not very convinced,  so he met NISD staff and got detailed information.  Once convinced he decided to complete the course.  He took admission for the Electrical & Home Appliances Repair course and completed this 3 month duration course successfully.

 

Present Situation: Though Sunil completed the course and is willing to work in a near town, dyu but due to his father’s sickness, he is not able to go out for work.  This has forced Sunil to work in the same village, and work in their field as well as look after their animals. So despite Sunil now being trained to work in better conditions, he is as yet unable to. We have hopes that he will be able to in the future.  

Sep 20, 2011

"It's illegal to marry a girl below 18 years"

"It
"It's illegal to marry a girl below 18"

One key issue that this project tackles is early marriage. You can see from the posters below that there is much effort to raise awareness about the illegality and deeply harmful consequences of early marriage.

 

Unfortunately, early marriage is a widespread phenomenon across India, as this article by Unicef shows -

[Direct link: http://www.unicef.org/india/child_protection_1536.htm?q=printme]

Place: somewhere in rural India: As Shanti emerges out of her mud-plastered hut, her child-like form looks quite odd wrapped in a sari - an adult garment. She moves about listlessly, trying to hide her protruding belly with the drape of her oversized sari.

Married at 13, Shanti got pregnant immediately afterwards and subsequently lost her underweight, prematurely delivered baby. She is pregnant again. “This time, we hope she pulls it off,” says her mother-in-law.
Despite the existence, since 1929, of legislation banning it, child marriage continues to be a social reality in India today

Shanti is one amongst millions of girls worldwide who are married off before they attain the age of 18, the legal age of marriage in many countries, including India. Despite the existence, since 1929, of legislation banning it, child marriage continues to be a social reality in India today.

According to the National Family Health Survery (NFHS) 3, there has been an overall decline in the percentage of women aged 20-24 married before the legal age of 18, from 54.2 percent in 1992-93 to 44.5 percent in 2005-06.

That still translates into a disproportionate number of girls in rural and semi-urban areas who are married off in childhood, as compared to boys.

Girls between 15 and 19 are twice as likely to die of pregnancy-related reasons as girls between 20 and 24 . Once married, a girl or boy is expected to meet different obligations arising out of such marriage, including responsibilities towards the spouse, the family and society. In a child marriage, the individuals involved are not yet-physically, mentally and emotionally ready to perform the obligations.

In child marriage, not only the rights of the individuals involved get violated but their unpreparedness to protect against any violation makes them more vulnerable to further exploitation. In that sense, child marriage is a clear violation of human rights.

The right to free and full consent to marriage is recognized in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in many subsequent Human Rights Instruments which recognize that consent “cannot be free and full” when one of the parties involved is not sufficiently mature to make an informed decision about a life partner.

A host of complex socio-economic factors play a role in the early marriage of girls. Poverty is one of the major factors responsible for early marriage.

A young girl may be regarded as an economic burden and her marriage to a much older man is a family survival strategy, and may even be seen as being in her best interest.

Although many states have shown improvement in reducing the age of marriage, for the millions of Shantis, who descend steeply from a state of muted adolescence into motherhood, their youth is short-lived. At best, it is youth interrupted.

Akshay Tritiya - an 'auspicious' day

The auspicious occasion of Akha Teej, also known as Akshay Tritiya, is associated with the custom of child marriage. This occasion is known as Child Marriage Day in Rajasthan, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and surrounding areas when little boys and girls are actually carried in their arms by their parents or guardians to the venue of marriage, usually in utter ignorance of changing social conditions and disregard for legal norms. This year, Akshay Tritiya falls on 7-8th May 2008.

The central and state governments routinely step up their vigil against child marriage around this time of year, and numerous awareness drives and pledge events are held to enlist the people in the fight against the practice.

For example, this year in Rajasthan, regarded as one of the "high-risk" states in terms of child marriage, several preemptive actions have been set in motion, such as:

  • Media workshops to prevent child marriages at the state and regional levels (supported by UNICEF)
  • Control Rooms have been set up in the Collectorate Offices to monitor and prevent under-age marriages
  • Intensive awaress campaigns launched with distribution of IEC materials and information sharing
  • State government has issued special orders to elected and public representatives to strictly prevent child marriages

The Prohibition of Child Marriage Act 2006 provides for the prohibition of the solemnisation of child marriages and for matters connected with child marriages. Section 15 of the Act makes an offence punishable under this Act, cognizable and non-bailable.

The Act has also enhanced the penalty for violation of the provisions as compared to the previous Child Marriage Restraint Act of 1929.

UNICEF, at the request of the Ministry of Women and Child Development, had supported four regional workshops in India since November 2005, in the states of Rajasthan, UP, M.P and one at the national level in Delhi.

Plans are afoot to embark on concrete action, research and awareness programmes in the states with high child marriage incidence.

 

"Please don
"Please don't marry a girl below 18..."

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