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 26, 2013

Thoughts Following Project Visit

Sewing class
Sewing class

Dear donors,

I hope this report finds you all well. Sorry there has been a slight delay in updates - I have been away from the office visiting the project, spending time with the team and meeting beneficiaries. I'd like to take this opportunity to share a few of my experiences there.

Dr Mune and her team of young women operate from a small office, tucked in the corner of a street in the Vishrantwadi area: one of the older slums of Pune. She has around her an impressive team of young women, each one dressed in a simple white sari, which seems to be something of a uniform amongst the team. Each woman has her own story of slum life, and each is now helping others who are in a situation they know all too well.

As we walk through the different slums and visit the various activities - sewing training, nutritional awareness workshops, study support classes - the degree of respect that Dr Mune and her team command is obvious. Everyone is friendly and welcoming, not least many of the old beneficiaries who come pouring out of their houses to give their thanks and invite us for tea.

The situation is largely the same of all of the girls in the slums. Their lives consist of being confined to their houses, helping their mothers with the chores until their family has found someone suitable for them to marry. But thanks to this work, that situation is changing now.

We sit in a circle and many of the girls tell me their thoughts and personal stories. Some of them have had their marriages fixed recently. Indeed, they will probably all marry at some point, it being impossible not to in this society. But they have managed to delay their marriages until they are 21 or 22. In this time they have completed their education, have knowledge of their rights, and have gained self-confidence. Some have started working and others want to continue to study. Had it not been for the project, they tell me, they would have been married at 15 and not thought anything of it.

On the floor of a house in another slum, a group of younger girls from the locality gather and tell me what they have been learning. One girl of 13 delivers a most incredible and unrehearsed speech about the importance of keeping ones important documents, and especially marriage certificate, safe. "If we don't keep our marriage certificates, our husbands might do anything - they might beat us. Then, if we went to the police they would ask us for proof of our marriage, and we would have nothing to show." The girls have all been on 'exposure visits' the police station, and know that their husbands aren't allowed to hit them. Their mothers beam proudly.

This year the project team have begun activities in 3 new slums, bringing the same benefit to the girls of new communities. All of these girls will be the confident, informed, self-reliant mothers of the next generation. Thank you all for donating to this life changing work.

Children in a slum
Children in a slum
New slum area where project activities have begun
New slum area where project activities have begun
Jan 25, 2013

"A woman can do anything. That means me."

Sara tailoring
Sara tailoring

My name is Sara, and I am from Vishrantwadi.

Some time ago, my father died, and after that we suffered some serious financial problems.

I heard about the project and the vocational training they give to girls. I went there to learn tailoring and how to stitch clothes. However, I learnt many things alongside the tailoring which were very useful, such as the premarriage and personality development workshops.

My mother is very happy to see me as a tailor.

I  feel  a lot of gratitude to the project and the karuna trust for the work they are doing to help those who want to overcome their problems. 

They are helping to empower women. I was empowered thought becoming financially independent. I now earn money from my tailoring work, and have confidence in my life and future.

I learnt that I woman can do anything. That means me.

Jan 22, 2013

2 year old Tamanna, diagnosed and saved


“Timely guidance, help and financial assistance for medical treatment, saved the life of 2 year old Tamanna.”

Situation Before Intervention:

Tamanna is 2 years old, and lives with her parents in 'Karule village'. Her father is a driver but becasue his income is not sufficient to sustain the household of 5, her mother also has to work as a wage labourer. With her parents away for the whole day, she stays with her grandmother.

One day Tamanna was not well. Her grandmother believed it to be a normal cough and cold. The fever continued to many days, but her mother simply hoped that she would become alright within a day or two.

NISD Intervention:

When the NISD staff heard of Tamanna's illness, they went there immediately and took Tamanna for a medical check-up. NISD's doctor checked her and referred her to their child specialist, Dr Jadhav. After blood and haemoglobin tests, she was diagnosed with jaundice. Her parents did not have any moeny for her treatment, but NISD's financial support meant they could begin treatment straight away. Tamanna started improving and recovered from her sickness. The doctor said if she had not arrived when she did, it would have been difficult to save her life. NISD covered all the medical costs.

Current situation:

Now Tamanna is well and gaining her weight day by day. Now she is coming to crèche regularly and participates in all the the project activities such as studying, playing, singing songs etc. Now the pre-school teacher is in a postition to monitor Tamanna’s health. 

Comments of Parents:

Tamanna's father reflects that things could have been very difficult if the NISD doctor had not checked Tamanna, and due to their financial situation especially, they would have likely lost their child.

Timely guidance, help and financial assistance for medical treatment, saved the life of 2 year old Tamanna.

Tamanna's parents are grateful to Karuna and NISD for their timely support which saved the life of their young child. 

This could not have happened without your support. Thank you.

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