Rupali training in Mumbai
Rupali, like many girls her age, sought adventure and wanted to make a contribution to the world. Unfortunately, as a Dalit girl, her future was already determined to be quite different. Like the other girls from her remote rural village, she would surely be married young, denied an education and relegated to an unquestioned life of household labour.
Rupali, after suffering pressures from home, escaped to the city. Penniless, homeless and with nowhere to turn, when she arrived on the streets of Mumbai she was scared and alone. Fortunately, the Runaway Women’s Shelter found her and took her in. There she found food, a safe place and access to education.
Yet according to Rupali, the project gave them much more than safety and schooling. In 2016 Rupali and a friend also from the project ran the Mumbai Half Marathon to raise money for the Women’s Shelter. Recreational sports are considered taboo for women from these rural communities. Yet, in defiance of the traditions that would have seen her trapped in a choiceless life, she chose instead to embrace her power to help others, just as others had helped her.
“I wanted to be the first girl (from the project) who could participate in something like this. I was able to achieve something I never thought I could achieve. And that was great!”- Rupali
Karuna continues to fund this project and we’re excited to give you the opportunity to help it grow via Global Giving, for you to support and help us to reach more girls like Rupali, so they too can achieve things beyond what they ever believed possible.