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.
Feb 15, 2010

Update on Shivani and Preeti

Computer Training
Computer Training

The following project update is from some of the beneficiaries. It lets us know some of the activities that people have been engaged in and how this has been of help.

1) Testimonial Name of beneficiaries: - Shivani Dhende Name of community: - Shanti Nagar

I am a student living in the slum of Shanti Nagar with my mother and grandmother. The name of the project were involved with is ‘Women`s Empowerment.’ I have attended life skills classes every day and enjoy the activities very much. My teacher Mrs Manisha Pathole has imparted a lot of practical knowledge on how to face various problems which has given me confidence to face them. I visited a bank to find out about bank accounts and how to open one and also a police station to find out about making reports if we need to. I also learnt to swim in a place called sang am which I enjoyed the most. Our group name is jagruti-jagruti which means the knowledge we have and that which we get. I have gone for Wenledo which is self defense training in a place called Shramik Vasahat. Our project director brought Teachers from other places they came to teach us specialist knowledge. One teacher whose name was Preeti taught us meditation. She told us that when we have a serious problem or tension we can use meditation to help us feel some relief, even just 5 minutes of meditation. Another Teacher Dr Manda Mune gave us information regarding our body and its health. My teacher Mrs Manisha Pothole taught us that we should always be neat and tidy and practice Hygiene. This has helped me a lot. I’m thankful to the ‘Women`s Empowerment’ project`s team for their guidance and feel very lucky to have such positive influence at the start of my life.

2) Testimonial Name of beneficiaries: - preeti subhash Jadhav Name of community: - Burma cell

I am Preeti Subhash Jadhav and live in Burmacell with my parents. I have 3 sisters and 1 brother. In the community in which I live girls don’t have a strong Identity. We don’t have rights to take our own decisions. We have a high rate of gender discrimination with a girl seen as a burden for the parents. If a boy makes a mistake no one cares but if a girl does she’s punish. When the Women`s Empowerment Project came to our community many parents protested. Dr Manda Mune the project director handled it gently and communicated the importance of the life skills classes. Now even more girls have started coming for classes since the project is now seen to help girls to progress. The project has arranged various activities for the girls, to learn about computers for instance. Mrs Manisha Kharat taught us about nutritious food as well as how to communicate with our elders. We learnt mehendi which is henna art, and also got Wenledo training which is for self defence. I learnt to swim in sang am and that experience was really great. Now difficulties in day to day life are more manageable. Also we have kishori panchayat, youth leadership, and my group name is Magic Group. We arrange various community activities for instance we maintain clean Boudh Vihar every Saturday. The magic group is also arranging street plays that address our communities’ problems to raise awareness in the whole community; for instance girls that are being married at around 7 years of age. Thanks to the women`s empowerment project team we have learnt to fight against bad practices. 3) Parents testimonial Name of parents:-Shobha Raju bachute Name of community: - Bhimnagar Age: - 32

I am Shobha and my daughters name is Komal. I can honestly say that now I am observing my daughter she is changed. Use to give back answer and I was worried about her. Now she is listening to me and behaving like a mature child. I am greatly thankful to women`s empowerment project team.

3) Parents testimonial Name of parent:-savita manic sonawne Name of community: - Bhim nagar Age: - 45

I am Savita and my daughter name is Vidya. Before she was not talking frankly to anybody. Now she is doing her work in time. I observe her she is speaking confidently I am very happy about her. Thanks to women`s empowerment project.

Learning to Swim
Learning to Swim
Health and the Human Body
Health and the Human Body
Feb 1, 2010

NISD Child Parliamentary Group

Deepali busy in her studies
Deepali busy in her studies

During Diwali celebrations children from well off families in the city area build or purchase forts. They make these forts from mud and decorate them with artificial trees, people, the military, horses, animals and so many other things. The members of Balpanchayat group decided to organize their own Fort Building Competition. Dipali was responsible for organizing this and around 24 children participated in making and decorating these holiday Diwali forts. At the end of the competition some small prizes were distributed amongst the children and Dipali was able to successfully complete her duties in organizing and seeing the event through to its end. In other learning experience the parliamentary group members decided to organize a study of two different Dairy Co-operatives and learn about their work. They divided into two groups and each group visited one of two village dairies. They observed and tried to understand all the processes of milk collection, chilling etc. and to learn from that. Then both the groups came together and shared their learning with each other. This provided a good learning experience for the children.

Dipali’ interest in her studies has increased as she has studied more regularly. She motivates other children to study and helps them if they have difficulties. In the half yearly examination she was very pleased to get a first class mark.

In December the block level Educational Department organized a ‘Math-Science Exhibition’ and asked all schools to participate in the competition. Dipali participated on behalf of her school. She prepared her exhibition on one of the local pulses and its nutritional value for the human body. Her project received first prize in the 5th to 7th standard at block level and became eligible to participate at the District level. At the district level of competition, where selected block level school projects were displayed, she did not get any prize but was awarded with a certificate. She reported that she was very happy to be able to learn a number of things from the other children’s projects. Her confidence and interest in science has now greatly increased.

Dipali and her Child Parliamentary group are active in social work. On January 10th the Government decided to give a polio vaccination to all eligible children under 5 years of age. Dipali’s group divided into two and visited all the houses with children below 5 year of age. In two days they visited every household and asked parents to bring their children for a ‘pulse polio dose’ explaining how this dose will help protect the child from polio. On the day of the ‘pulse polio dose’ vaccinations they also helped the Government personnel in keeping discipline and provided whatever help they could and this was much appreciated by all involved.

NISD organized a visit of members of the Child Parliamentary Groups to several villages. They visited ‘Anandwan Vidhyalaya, Nashik’ which is well known for preparing educational and other materials. The Child Parliamentary Group members learnt how to produce different materials from these teachers.

Dipali is now more confident and takes the lead in many different activities. She is a very active member of her Parliament and as a consequence is respected within her group as well as in the school. Her mother is very happy and proud to see Dipali’s progress and thanked NISD and Karuna Trust for their efforts in developing the children’s potential.

Playing with other gourp members
Playing with other gourp members
Deepali receives prize in Science-math Competition
Deepali receives prize in Science-math Competition
Oct 8, 2009

Thank you - an update from the field

Having just returned from India I am pleased to report that this project continues to give much needed support to women who are experiencing caste discrimination, sexual harassment and domestic violence.

It saddens me; however, to report that our project partner continues to receive many requests for assistance from young women who have been subjected to despicable sexual assaults from men of higher castes. These heinous crimes continue because there is little or no redress under a rural legal system which is largely ignored by police and local authorities.

It is for this reason that our project partner works tirelessly to bring criminals and their protectors, including police and doctors to justice.

In my last report I shared the story of Diksha Ashruba Shinde and her sister Panchshila of Shindi village, Beed District. The sisters were violently assaulted by a group of nine men in an unprovoked caste attack. Both Diksha and Panchshila were punched in the face and chest and beaten with sticks and iron rods.

Thanks to the work of this project, the doctor who refused to admit the sisters to the Kaij Rural Hospital was suspended from work and five police constables and one police inspector were suspended from work under section (4) of prevention of Atrocities Act.

The project’s team have also successful won compensation from local government for the sisters as a result of their advocacy work. The project’s publicity of the case drew the State Home Minister of Maharashtra to make an unprecedented declaration that any village accused of repeated atrocities would find its development fund frozen by government.

If there is a silver lining to this case it is that, with the help of the project, both Diksha and Panchshila, have fought to turn disaster into opportunity. Both sisters have enrolled for and been selected to attend Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work in Mumbai, where they will train in order to dedicate themselves to the empowerment and development of Dalit Women.

Thank you for your continued generous support for this project. Your generosity is giving young women like Diksha and Panchshila a voice and bringing criminals to justice.

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