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.
Oct 25, 2011

The action on the ground

I asked Mina, the leader of the project what exactly Nishtha does on the ground - a lot more than I had previously understood. Mina gave me a detailed insight, in her own words, of what is happening on the ground:

 

NISHTHA

Our organization Nishtha is a community based women’s organization which was born in the mid-seventies. Since then, its aim has been to empower women on their rights and empowering them to demand such rights.

 

NISHTHA’s focus of activities have been around education, especially for the girl children,  Anti trafficking programme,  Health & Nutrition programme, Formation of groups, Income Generation, free legal aid to victims of domestic violence,  Night shelter for sex workers children, Sustainable Agriculture and women, Advocacy and campaign, women’s rights on safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene education.

 

Nishtha presently works in more than 300 villages in 5 blocks in the District of South 24 Parganas and Malda Districts of West Bengal. The programmes of Nishtha have made it a participatory resource centre for community women, youths and elderly. In brief, a few major areas of activities are:

q      Ensure every girl child to study in formal schools and do not drop out.

q      Support the girl students with learning materials, Tuition fees, etc. and monitor their Progress.

q      Vocational Training for girl children and young housewives.

q      Income generation programme for the members of village women’s grups.

q      Health clinics for adult, adolescents and aged women.

q      Nutrition Program — including supply of nutrition rich food.

q      Training and awareness on general and reproductive health, hygiene, sanitation, and environment.

q      Drinking water and toilet and sanitation facilities to schools, individual households and communities.

q      Awareness generation on safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene.

q      Formation of WATSAN Committees under leadership of women.

q      Sexuality and Reproductive Health Program for the youth and newlywed couples.

q      Training in sustainable agriculture to all members of farmer families to optimize food production, reduce use of chemical pesticides and chemical fertilizers. Adolescent volunteers act as promoters of bio-diversity.

q      Establishing women’s rights over fixed assets and their right to be recognized as a farmer.

q      Advocacy and campaign against violence and discrimination of women and girl children.

q      Provide free legal support to victims of violence.

q      Different BCC activities on child trafficking, child marriage and teenage and unwanted pregnancy, high rate of dropout amongst girl children,, domestic violence, etc. Special BCC activities are carried out on the problems on elderly women.  

q      Day Boarding and Night Shelter for Sex Workers’ children

q      Putting up fight against domestic violence and child marriage and social and legal rehabilitation of the victims.

q      Advocacy and campaign on the problems of the affected women and girl child of the land eroded areas by the side of river Ganga in Malda district.

q      All through the year, Nishtha conducts trainings on different issues and subjects for different group viz. group leaders, volunteers, group members, staff, farmers, representative of other organizations, etc.

 

Your support is what is enabling Nishtha to carry our all of these activities. 

Oct 25, 2011

Making girls a priority

The Department for International Development (DFID) in UK has just announced its Aid to India strategy. It stresses the importance of empowering girls and women in alleviating poverty in India;

"Our theory of change is that bringing assets, opportunities and basic services directly to women and girls can break the cycle of poverty passed between generations"

For the full report, see: http://www.guardian.co.uk/global-development/2011/oct/21/uk-unveils-aid-strategy-india/print

With your continued support, this project is in fact providing these precious and so badly needed opportunities to oppressed girls in the slum areas of Vishrantwadi.

Oct 25, 2011

Safe and Sound

Prakash, the leader of the project sent me this story a couple of weeks ago. I found it really moving, but also incredible - how simple measures seem to be making a big difference for individuals, and by extension whole families on the ground. Here's the story of Bhagubai - 

 

Mrs. Bhagubai Ashok Tajanpure was residing at Saikhnidi.  As her husband is not educated or skilled he was working as wage labour.  But it was not possible for him to maintain his family in his small earnings.  Therefore Bhagubai forced to roll bidis to supplement her husband’s income.  Her all three children are taking education and therefore both- husband and wife’s- income is not sufficient and they were living in extreme poverty.  Their house was just like a hut, which was not safe, secure and suitable to live.  In winter and rainy seasons they are facing maximum problems due to this low quality housing condition.  They are always scared in nighttime.

 

Once Mrs. Bhagubai came in contact with NISD’s staff and enrolled her name in the SHG.  NISD also helped her financially to purchase 5 goats, which afterwards increased upto 25-30.  Her husband started looking after the goat as he got full time work and good and permanent income source out of goat sale, milk and manure.  This increased their saving.

 

But still their house problem was not solved because there income was not sufficient to construct house by taking bank loan.  In the SHG meeting she came to know Habitat joint housing project initiated by NISD in that area.   She raised some money from her relatives, took loan from NISD Bachat Gat Mahasangh and applied to Habitat’s support.  By noticing her need NISD sanctioned her proposal and assisted her.  Her husband and she both worked as labour on the construction. 

 

Now Bhagubai says that she never expected that she could build such house but because of Habitat and NISD’s support she could able to build her dream house.  Now  we have safe, secure and good house where we can sleep fearlessly, she added.  

 

Let's carry on helping to make people's dreams a reality!

 

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