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Jul 8, 2020

Update:Global Cooperation,Collective Vulnerability

In March, we asked for help to provide emergency relief to those on the front line of the crisis in India and Nepal, in the form of food, sanitation equipment, masks and more. 

The response was amazing –  £200,000 was donated and, over the past two months, my team and I have been doing everything we can to respond to the most urgent needs of the communities we work with.

In all, we have been able to bring immediate relief to approximately 60,000 people; including migrant workers, single parents, children, pregnant women and others made vulnerable by the crisis.

We’re incredibly grateful for all the support, and humbled by the amazing efforts of our partners; at the same time we’re only too aware that the crisis is worsening and many more need our help now, as they will in the months, perhaps years, to come. 

With rates of COVID-19 infections increasing rapidly in India and Nepal, so too is an increase in violence, discrimination, hunger and unemployment. The lockdown in India left 400 million daily wage labourers with no income, no source of food and, for many, no way home. 

At least half of those are still suffering hunger and destitution, and the majority of them are Dalits, for whom manual labour work in the cities, thousands of miles from their villages, was the only choice. 

These mass migrations will continue to spread the virus to even remote rural communities. For these people, proper health awareness and sanitary practices are already low and this, compounded with poverty, hugely increases their vulnerability. 

That’s why we’ve increased our target to £500,000, and we will be working hard to increase our grant and trust applications, and reach out to new supporters.  

My team is in daily contact with our friends and partners in India and Nepal. We’re monitoring the situation closely and responding as best we can, continuing to make emergency grants for food and medical supplies. 

At the same time we’re planning what support will be needed once the crisis starts to ease, and people are able to start rebuilding their lives.

We don’t know how long the coronavirus crisis will last. What we do know is that the most vulnerable communities, particularly those we work with, will suffer the most.

As we listen to our partners in-country and navigate this crisis,  we are developing a plan to ensure donations are used in the best way possible. This is still “work in progress” but at this stage these are our priorities:

Immediate Emergency Response

Our first priority is to support those directly impacted by the crisis. This includes:

  • Distributing emergency supplies, food kits and sanitation equipment
  • Health awareness and emergency sanitation facilities for vulnerable communities at risk from infection
  • Working closely with local Governments so that emergency relief reaches the communities that most need help
  • Protecting women and girls vulnerable to an increased risk of violence during the lockdown

 Rehabilitation Response

Rebuilding Education

  • We will be providing additional educational support for children returning to school post-lockdown, with particular emphasis on preventing adolescent girls dropping out due to increased pressure on livelihoods.

Rebuilding Gender Equality

  • By providing support and counselling for women and girls from families disproportionately affected by the crisis, we will be ensuring as many women as possible are protected from violence and trafficking as a result of reduced family incomes.  For these girls, ensuring their return to school is not just essential, it is life-saving.

Rebuilding Livelihoods

  • The loss of livelihoods and income with millions of men returning home will massively increase economic hardship for those already in poverty. By focusing on developing new livelihoods and improved conditions for daily wage labourers in marginalised communities, we will support them to achieve greater family security and improved opportunities for health and education.

Global Cooperation, Collective Vulnerability 

We’re very aware that this is a global crisis, affecting all of us in different ways. We know that many of you are having to deal with the impacts in your own lives – as we are at Karuna. At the same time we are determined to do everything we can to meet the increasing needs in India and Nepal, and we can do so only because of your support. Thank you. 

With thanks and best wishes,

Thank you. 

Jonathan Clark

Head of Programmes

Jul 8, 2020

Your donations are supporting vulnerable children

Community support in action
Community support in action

Aparna is a single mother supporting her three children after her husband left some years ago. She is a daily wage labourer, unable to work at this time of lockdown. Aparna’s children usually attend the Karuna-funded school, by being at home in lockdown with Aparna at this time.

Like so many daily wage labourers, Aparna’s urgent concern is how to feed her family without being able to work. The family has basic belongings, most to support the children’s education. You may remember Lalita, one of Aparna’s daughters, as she was given a bike last year, to enable her safe travel to and from school. Now the family is in crisis.

Fortunately, your donations to the #coronacrisisappeal meant the school staff have been keeping in touch with families such as Aparna’s and have given a nutritious ration parcel that will feed the family for one month. This is a temporary solution but a critical one for Aparna and her children. She told the team they were the only people to have enquired about the family’s wellbeing and she is so touched by the support.

Thank you for making this happen.

With gratitude,

Erika Narkiewicz

Karuna Trust

Jul 8, 2020

Cyclone Amphan Update: Community Action

Across the globe, reports and statistics are showing that women and girls are being disproportionately hit by the effects of the coronavirus. While this is undoubtedly the case, we are proud of the gender equality work your donations have been funding for many years. Because of this strong foundation, we receive updates such as this from Mina in West Bengal. Mina’s community was hit by the dual crisis of the pandemic and a cyclone and she shares that their crisis response has been hugely helped by the girls in the region stepping up:
Despite communication and connection problems due to the coronavirus and Cyclone Amphan, our leaders are still reaching the fellow villagers at every nook and corner. The girls working with them are our brave warriors. They are our pride. It was our mission to build strong groups with able leaders to carry on the noble mission of women's empowerment, which is evident at this critical hour.”
Mina has worked for many years with girls, to encourage education, and to prevent child marriage and trafficking. Having also recently focused on boys’ roles and education in the gender equality work, she shares the effects this is having in a time of crisis:
These boys will be the future decision-makers of the family... These boys are really
supporting us by collecting the materials blown away by Amphan… and supplying them to families to repair their damaged houses. They are even working as labourers to cut costs since monsoon has already set in. The fathers’ groups have also come forward to help the victims.”
This project has reached over 1,000 families so far in the response to the Cyclone.
Thank you for your donations, which are helping the next phase of work reach thousands more. 
With gratitude,
Erika Narkiewicz
Karuna Trust
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