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Mar 18, 2020

Update from the hostels in India

Dear friend,

Thank you for your continued support of girls' education in India. Our Programme Manager, Suddhaka, has just returned from an inspiring and informative trip to the hostels and we have some stories of success to share with you. However, at this time of global uncertainty with the Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) we want to update you on the situation for our hostels at present.

On 16th March we received notification that the State Governments of Maharashtra and Goa had decided to close all Government Schools until March 31st as a precaution against the spread of Coronavirus. The only exception is for children in 10th and 12th standard (age 16 and 18) who are currently taking their schools certificate exams. Our partners in India responded swiftly by deciding that all our 16 Karuna funded residential hostels should close and students should return to their families and home villages immediately. All children have now left the hostels, except for those who are taking their exams who will remain for another week until the exams finish. Our partners will monitor the situation closely and will arrange for students to return as soon as the health situation permits.

Karuna fully supports our partners' decision and will continue to monitor the situation, working closely with our partners to protect the safety and wellbeing of the students in our care.

We value your continued support of this long-standing project and appreciate your understanding at this time. If you have any questions, please do reach out. You can contact me at erika@karuna.org

We all at Karuna hope you are keeping well and we continue to value your support.

With warm wishes,

Erika

 

Karuna Trust  

Feb 13, 2020

Meena, aged 13, advocates for gender equality

Girls in the project practice speaking out!
Girls in the project practice speaking out!

Meena is growing up in a difficult slum and was growing up lacking confidence and refusing opportunities to go to school. From a family with very little literacy, Meena didn't see a way of learning without being laughed at by other girls. Fortunately, this project reached out to Meena and things have changed.

It's our privilege to share Meena's story of change with you:

"In our classes, we are told about our rights. Many different activities increased my confidence. I've started talking, standing in front of the girls. My fears have disappeared. I've started understanding how to be a leader. I learned how to resist bad things.  I learned good things. I learned that girls also have rights as boys do. Now, I can even talk about my rights at my home. 

My studies are progressing. If there are any girls in the area whose education is stopped, then I will try to tell community organiser and she can get help to complete her education. I understand how to protect myself now. When a boy in the school was doing eve teasing (sexual harrassment), I immediately told the teacher and informed home of the incident too. Fear did not remain in my mind. With confidence in me now I can speak without fear.

I want to be an IPS (Indian Polie Service) Officer in the future. I want to be in the same locality and make changes. I want to emphasize the importance of education to all. After learning in class I told my mom that when I will get married and have my own family, at that time I will not discriminate boy and girl and I will give equal rights to both. I also fight for my rights at home and told my mother whatever you give to my brother I also want that. Since then, my mom gives us both things equally.  

This change in me, this confidence, getting the to this stage, it is all due to attending classes here. I thank this project very much."

With your support with can continue to support Meena and her peers to get an equal education and to take their place in society with pride. Thank you for your role in this journey! 

Feb 11, 2020

Never too old to learn- Anisha goes back to school

Anisha in her home
Anisha in her home

 

Anisha lives in a slum in Amravati with her family. She had been married by her parents when she was just 16 years old. Up to then her education had been somewhat patchy; after getting married there was no way she could continue schooling.

Anisha is now 35 years old and has one daughter and two sons. Her husband works as a pan seller and earns barely enough to feed the family. Anisha has always been keen to do more than looking after the household and the family. So, she was very happy when this livelihood project started in her area. First, she joined the women's empowerment sessions where her confidence got a boost. She then participated in the entrepreneurship training and received a small seed grant to set up her business. She started producing and selling Bhakri, a traditional kind of bread. This went well, yet Anisha felt she could do more.

Eventually Anisha came in contact with a company in the garment sector and applied for a job in garment production. Thanks to the confidence she had gained from the training and with her own small business she was able to apply and start working in this new field. Like this, Anisha now has a stable income which is not massive but is regular and of her own making.

Anisha says how happy she is that she can provide for her children's education. With the two incomes she and her husband are now able to support the family well. Anisha also mentions that she has shared everything she's learnt about gender equality with her husband. This has apparently convinced him to not object when she started to go out of the house for her work. For many women it's a huge obstacle to convince their husbands to simply let them leave the house. Luckily for Anisha, her husband has been understanding and sympathetic; the benefits for Anisha are shared by the whole family!

Thank you for supporting this project which helps women such as Anisha find their confidence, break gender limitations in work and become financially independent for their own contribution to their families and communities. 

 
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