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.
Aug 10, 2015

Education Update

The project has recently undergone a review of the work undertaken in the last six months. Six month reviews allow Karuna to determine how effectively we are using funding given by our supporters to improve the lives of people in India.The review establishes if the team are set to achieve the targets we promised you our supporters to deliver.

Here are the results of the team's report on the project's educational work.  

Increased Enrolment of School Age Children.

  • Using awareness raising methods such as postering, meetings, rallies, theatre and exhibitions 8550 people in the project area were informed of the importance of child education.
  • 777 letters were sent to families whose child is of school going age on their child’s admission to school.
  • A new First Day Programme was organised in schools where children were welcomed with drawing books, coloring pencils, chocolates and caps. 855 children (426 boys, 429 girls) took part.

Higher completion rates at primary level.

  • Education resources like notebooks, campus boxes, uniforms and school bags were given to 2,534 poor children (1,362 boys and 1,172 girls).
  • The team printed and distributed 11,622 special notebooks on which posters related to educational messages were printed.  This helped create greater awareness among the local community on education, child rights and hygienic habits.
  • This year the project organised 3 training sessions on modern creative teaching methods in which 399 school teachers took part (237 male and 162 female).
  • 548 pre-school teachers were trained in child care and child development issues which enabled them to look after children in a better way.
  • The team organised reading improvement classes in 36 schools attended by 644 children (327 boys and 317 girls) who were falling behind.
  • 3,668 children made use of the team’s mobile library (1,916 boys, 1,752 girls). Encouraged with the positive results, 10 schools developed their own school libraries.

Challenges 

  • Staff turnover was a problem that was reduced to some extent by increasing salaries and incentives.
  • School management committee members were less willing to attend training organised at the district level.  Therefore small training programmes were organised at the village level. This helped considerably in increasing attendance and involvement. The focus also shifted from classroom training to educational tours of the best performing schools. This strategy was seen to have an immediate positive impact on the motivation and engagement of the stakeholders.

Lessons Learned

  • Rather than purchasing pre made notebooks, this year the team printed all notebooks for poor school children in the local market with the cover of each notebook featuring child rights, gender, hygiene and sanitation messages. 
  • The approach of exposure and educational tours of teachers and school managment committees to exemplary projects such as the best schools or best self-help group has worked better than classroom training in replicating best practice in schools. 
Aug 6, 2015

Maitri Network Meetings

The Maitri network comprises 10-14 grassroots women's projects across India, which are working to combat issues of violence, abuse and exploitation in their localities. 

There projects include:

Adecom, who work with domestic violence and political representation for women in Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry;

Nishtha, who work to help adolescent girls in West Bengal who face the prospect of child marriage in West Bengal;

Jan Sahas, who work to liberate women from the degrading caste-based practice of 'manual scavenging' (the cleaning of human excrement of upper caste households);

and Nirman, who work with women from De-notified Tribes - those communities which were considered 'Criminal by Birth' under the British, and who still bear that stigma and prejudice today. 

Through Maitri, these individual organisations are able to come together, to co-ordinate campaigns and activities over the year, such as rallies, postering, workshops and distribution of booklets in local languages. Here are some pictures from the last Maitri meeting, where the projet leaders came together to discuss the plan for the coming year's activities. 

I look forward to soon updating you with an activity plan for the coming year, depending on how many funds we can raise.

Jul 17, 2015

Programme Manager's Report July 2015

Karuna Programme Manager Jonathan Clark
Karuna Programme Manager Jonathan Clark

Bellow is the Karuna Programme Manager's project summary for the last year's work. 

The team have established a relationship of trust and equality with all stakeholders who now have a strong sense of ownership of the project. Most impressive of all is the role parents are playing in the management of the schools and in raising funds for infrastructural work and other needed resources. An informal network of school teachers has also come into being during this year where exchange of resources and learning takes place.

Through Karuna’s regular oversight, we identified areas of improvements for the project and worked together with our partner to strengthen and improve delivery, and ensure sustainability of their work. We put our partner in contact with a local expert who assisted them in putting in place a good system of monitoring progress of vocational training students and in undertaking a market survey to identify areas of demand and develop a more robust placement strategy with the local industries.

We also encouraged the project to develop a more systematic and sustainable relationship with the local education authorities by sharing their successful education improvement model. The team followed our recommendation and has now successfully become “Master Trainer”, undertaking teacher training for the local education department. The project has also been appointed as the NGO representative on the Women’s Development Committee set up to address issues faced by rural women; and as the NGO representative of the government child development services Anganwadi Development Programme.

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