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Mar 19, 2020

"My life has changed, I have dignity in my life."

Dwarkabai addresses women in her village
Dwarkabai addresses women in her village

Dear supporters, 

Thank you for continuing to support the vital work of combating violence against women across India. It feels that community is more important than ever- we continue to share stories of inspiration that you have helped create through your ongoing support.

For marginalised communities across South Asia, women are usually the most vulnerable, often denied an education and married off as property with little choice about their future. Caste hierarchies and normalised abuse are transferred into the home, where almost half of Dalit women report suffering domestic violence. Without intervention and support, many of them will live lives of isolation and victimisation. 

However, Dwarkabai change the trajectory of her life. Illiterate and born into a begging caste, she had no way to learn basic skills such as managing simple finances  or how to open a bank account. After joining a Karuna-supported women's group within this network, she was able to learn these and other skills, and take back control of her own life. Now, she runs the group, assisting more women like her to lift themsleves out of inequality. 

Groups like these don't just provide education; for many they are a home- and the only place they can get help and advice in confidnece when suffering abuse. 

"My life has changed, I have dignity in my life," Dwarkabai explains. 

Thank you for your continued support. During these uncertain times, we are keen to stay in touch with you and keep you updated on any changes in our projects. In the meantime, we hope you are well and continue to value your support.

With warm wishes and gratitude,

Imen Trabelsi 

Karuna Trust 

Mar 18, 2020

Lalita: "I feel like I'm worth something now."

Dear supporters,

We all face uncertain times at the moment and issues can feel overwhelming. It can feel important to share stories of hope and community at this time. We'd like to share Lalita's story with you; a woman who has overcome great adversity with the support of this project. Thank you for your role in this project- without your support, women like Lalita may not have the opportunity to reach their own potential. 

Lalita is typical of most Dalit women in her community. Traditional values placed her in the role of full-time householder and child rearer while poverty forced her to work in the fields. Not owning land, with no education, daily wage labour and dependent on landlords, caring for her 3 year old son had to come second too often.

However, from donations such as yours, we have helped equip people such as Lalita with the practical knowledge and skills to achieve sustainable increases in their income. We use a variety of methods (different crops, different land, different skills) in order to adapt to different women's situations. Alongside these techniques we teach basic business, finance and saving skills, so that they get the full benefits of their work without being expolited. These methods allow them to increase their household income 4-5 times over. The simplicity of the techniques, once learned, means Lalita has more time to spend with her son. 

"I started the mushroom farming group last January to try to leave being a daily labourer. Since then we already had two harvests and we doubed what we invested. While this was good, I wanted to make something that brought me more enjoyment and was working with others more, to have more community. Recently I joined the bangle making group which suits me better.

I feel like I can do things, like I am worth something now. Before I could only write my name. Now I feel like a business woman. I enjoy so much the company of other women. We support each other and I don’t feel lonely any more. My husband supports me with my businesses and I’m so glad I can see my friends and collaborate with them. I used to be so lonely before! I make decisions for muself and my family instead of them being made for me."

Thank you again for your continued support of this project and of women like Lalita. We hope you are taking care of yourselves and we hope out of these challenging times, will come an even greater sense of community. Thank you for being a part of our community.

With warm wishes and gratitude,

Amoghamati 

Karuna Trust 

 

Mar 18, 2020

Seema- no longer silenced- starts her new life.

Dear supporters,

We'd like to share an update report from our partner with the story of Seema (name changed), who with your support has transformed her life from a situation of abuse to a life of friendship, good health and education.

Hailing from Odisha, Seema used to live with her parents and three other siblings. However, at just 8 years old she was trafficked from her small villlage to Delhi under the pretense of enticing job opportunities. The person who had taken her from the village disappeared and Seema was sold to another family as a domestic slave.  For 8 years she did all chores and babysitting of the family's 3 children. The family moved around a lot and Seema had to follow. Throughout these 8 years, she went through verbal and physical abuse at the hands of the wife of the family. Unable to leave the house or gain an education, her second name was changed without her consent, so that she was not traceable by her own family. 

It was by chance and good fortunate that Seema finally went to Mumbai with the family. A new employee and a neighbour of the family saw the abuse Seema experienced and contacted our project partners there directly. With the great network our partners have built up, they were able to get support from Powai Police Station immediately and with their help, they rescued Seema. 

That was 3 months ago. Since then, Seema has been staying at the project and has got her admission in Grade 8. A lawyer is being sought who can present the case strongly in the court and get Seema the salary that is her right. To recover emotionally and psychologically, Seema has also been part of Art based therapy.

Seema is flourishing- she is sensitive towards the need of others and a quick learner. She says she wants to increase her knowledge and build her vocabulary which she's doing successfully. Seema joined a basic computer skills course which will be an add on skill for her as part of her education as well as when she starts looking for job opportunities.

We are so encouraged by Seema's story and her progress. No girl should have her freedom taken and it is a success to see Seema offered and supported with the opportunities she previously was denied. 

Thank you for your support of this project; it is because of your support that girls like Seema can look forward to recovery and creating the lives for themselves that they deserve.

With gratitude and warm wishes,

Imen Trabelsi

Project Leader 

 
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