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 24, 2010

Girjia's gratitude

A recent testimonial from Girjia, one of the many girls reaping the benefits of this project:

Name: Girjia Hosmani, 22 years old.

Community: Burma cell

I am Girija staying at Burma cell. My personality is somewhat introverted. I never shared or opened myself up in front of anybody before I joined this life skill class. Side by side I have completed my computer class as well. Though I am an elder in the class, I feel ok because I am getting good knowledge about how to lead my life independently. I would like to share my testimony. I have come from a poor family and I have a big number of family members. We don’t get a proper diet. I used to feel giddy and sometimes tiredness but I ignored it all the time. One day the Women’s Empowerment Project (WEP) ran a programme of free haemoglobin (HB) check-up and I had one myself.

Dr. Mune told me that my HB is only 6, whilst the minimum normal level is 12. She gave me information on looking after my diet and gave me medicines. From that day I decided to look after my own diet. I took medicines and it helps me to improve my HB level.   

I am very much grateful to the WEP and send my warm thanks.       

Nov 24, 2010

Successes to celebrate

The Child Resource Centre back then
The Child Resource Centre back then

Hi all,

So this is my first post on global giving as a fundraiser for the Karuna Trust. It's clear that we have strong support here for this incredible project that really is transforming the lives of over a thousand children on the ground. Thank you very much for your continued support.

I'm happy to be able to share even a few of the many successes that this project has enjoyed over the past few months.

First and foremost, the Child Resource Centre that lies very much at the centre of this project has been completed and its activities are in full-flow! This is a massive achievement given that its construction was such a massive undertaking. The building of the Child Resource Centre was impeded at different times by a number of barriers, including a shortage of trained labourers and a surge in the prices of building materials. All's well that ends well, however! and through the determination and consistent efforts of our partner, the building is now fully in operation and has been hitting the ground running. Vocational and other training programs, counselling and a well-equipped library are some of the many initiatives that are being run from the Centre at present. You can see from the 'then' and 'now' pictures the amount of work that has gone into building this wonderful space.

At the core of this project is of course getting kids out of child labour and poverty and instead getting them into school. With the help of our local project partner, NISD, all the children of the village are now attending school. That’s up from 72% when the project work began in 2003. If you're anything like me, it's easy to let statistics like this go straight over your head, but this one really struck me. An increase of 72% over the last 7 years really is something to shout about.

The achievements that have stemmed from the consistent and concerted efforts of all stake-holders with the help of NISD in the areas of education and health are equally as impressive: 

  • 140 school children received appropriate and timely education support materials. This played a significant role in encouraging them to continue their schooling.
  • 843 children are reaping the benefits of support classes to improve their reading skills.
  • Computer classes have helped many children to overcome their fears of using a computer and have enabled them to appreciate the uses and importance of the internet in the modern world.
  • Child Protection Committees are working to cultivate a safe and secure atmosphere for children in their villages. 30 of these have been set up.
  • 742 young children are receiving care and attention through supplementary nutrition and pre-primary education during the absence of their mothers whilst at work.
  • 157 kitchen gardens have been developed and entire families are benefiting from the nutritious vegetables that they are yielding.
  • The growth of 531 children is monitored on a regular basis.
  • The Child Parliaments have mobilised children to understand their rights and have equipped them to access education.
  • NISD’s activities have been given added impetus at a grassroots level through the growing strength of youth-led groups such as the child parliament and self-help groups.

Not all positive change can or indeed should be measurable in terms of numbers. At Karuna we strongly hold that mind change, that is a change in consciousness, is needed in order to bring about meaningful social change. So feelings of self-worth and agency among our beneficiaries is one of the most important things for us. The impact of the project in this area can be best summed up by the words of the Executive Director of NISD in his recent progress update:

NISD is also experiencing success in making changes in the mindsets of local people, particularly about the burning issues of child care and development, child participation and child protection. Now people are actually starting to think and are also paying attention to child-related issues, committed to securing a brighter future for their children. The bidi rolling women had very little expectations about the future of their girls as they were resigned to the likelihood that their daughters would start working as bidi rollers too. Now, however, these women have started to think that there girls will not actually enter into this hazardous line of work. On the contrary, they want to educate their girls so that they can enter into other lines of work.

When considered in the context of a society highly stratified along the lines of gender and caste, such changes are not merely a small step, but a big leap.

I hope that you will share in our happiness at the progress that is being made and as ever, thank you for your continued support.

...and now!
...and now!
Jul 28, 2010

"I dare!"


I am very pleased to report that thanks to your generosity, we have now raised over $1,000 for girls living in very difficult circumstances in slums in Pune, Maharashtra, India.

Please be assured that your donation is having a dramatic impact. It would not be an overstatement to say that this project is life changing for the girls who come into contact with it.

One such girl is Archana, who tells us her story:

I dare!

“I am Archana staying at Burma cell (slum in Pune). I have 3 sisters and 4 brothers.

My father is a farmer. We have chili machine, mother look after that machine. She grinds chili and prepares gravy masala (spice) and is earning money.

After my tenth (aged 16) mother asked me not to go for school. I was told to be at home and learn household activity. Parents were worried about my marriage.

One day guests came to see me. They proposed me for marriage. In our community girls are not allowed to see bridegroom. Quietly I greed all that told by parents. And I got engagement with him. He was 8th pass (aged 14) and was at home. I was realizing my future is blank. I was so sad to whom to concern, to whom to ask? One day I went for women`s empowerment life skill class.

On this day Manisha Tai and Smita Tai (project community workers) were discussing on topic of decision making with girls. I got struck. I did not sleep whole night.

Next morning as soon as Manisha entered in our community I rushed to her and told about my tragedy. She gave me emotional support.

I got a kind of daring within me. Finally I dare to break my engagement with whom I was not at all happy. I got relief. Now I am happy. I have finished my sewing machine class and have join computer class. I thank to you all and to Dr. Manda Mune (project leader) and to all women`s empowerment project staff and wish my best luck.”

Thank you for your generous and ongoing support. I hope you find this partnership valuable and worthwhile. I know the economy is tough, so thank you for investing your hard-earned money on our cause.

Please consider telling your friends and family about our project - share the link on your blogs or social networks, use the tell-a-friend feature on the project page to email your network, or just bring us up in conversation. You know your friends and family best so use your own words - tell them why you chose our project and what it means to you.

If you have any feedback I would love to hear from you. In the meantime I will continue to send stories from the girls whose lives you are helping to improve. Thank you again for all you have done to help this cause.


Steven Murdoch

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