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 Children  India Project #40879

Change the lives of disabled children in India

by Karuna Trust
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India
Change the lives of disabled children in India

During this challenging time, all the communities that we serve in India and Nepal are affected by the circumstances surrounding the coronavirus. We are in touch with our partners on the ground and are responding to regular updates.

For the families in West Bengal receiving support for their children with disabilities, as in the rest of India, they are under lockdown restrictions. There are food shortages because markets are closed, no running water in many villages and clean drinking water shortages. Daily wage earners and small scaler farmers are desperate as they are unable to work. Nevertheless, our partners are conducting a campaign over the phone through their leaders so that they can make the community aware of the coronavirus and take precautions.


The families mostly live in remote rural areas. There is a lot of additional pressure on them at present because almost all of the parents are casual agricultural labourers, which means they cannot work while the lockdown is in process. It also means that they have no savings or financial safety net. This, along with the rapidly rising food prices means that many families cannot even afford food and basic necessities. In an environment where families are living up to 6 or 7 people in one room, and hundreds of people often share one source of water, it is also pretty much impossible for people to self isolate.


While our work usually focuses on education, gender equality and diginified livelihoods, we are focusing on the immediate needs of marginalised communities and on basic survival necessecities. Because of this we are supporting the distribution of emergency food parcels and hygiene kits to all of the families, so that at least they can sustain themselves and keep up good hygiene practices as far as possible. The staff of the project are also keeping in touch with the families to prevent feelings of isolation. With the support networks that the project provides, the situation is still desperate, but the project provides support so that these families will hopefully be able to weather the storm of this crisis.
Thank you for your continued support at this time and we hope that you and those close to you are well. 
With warm wishes and gratitude,

Erika Narkiewicz
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Staff celebrate their goals that build on success!
Staff celebrate their goals that build on success!
The Bhalobasha project in West Bengal has gone from strength to strength in the last 4 years and is now ready to enter a new phase.
The project was originally supporting 10 families - and over the last 4 years this has now grown to over more than 60 families each year! There is a long waiting list for the project which is heavily over subscribed.
I recently spent a week leading the project through a strategic planning process for the next 4 years. and the team created their goals for the future.
Developments over the next 4 years will include -
  • Increased levels of mainstreaming children into school
  • more support for fathers to care for their children
  • more integration into the local community for children and their families
  • greater levels of support for families to access financial and practical entitlements
The team were very enthusiastic about the planning process and were both grateful for the support Karuna has given the project over recent years, and extremely optimistic about the future.
Thank you for your support of this project; regular donations help projects like Bhalobasha bring an exciting child-centered future into being. Thank you! 
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Boys at Bhalabosa become friends
Boys at Bhalabosa become friends

Balu is one of the young people who found Bhalobasa. Born with Down’s Syndrome Balu also had no verbal communication and was fully dependent for all tasks. Agricultural workers who had never had the opportunity of any education, Balu's parents felt lost.“We thought we were being punished by God,” Purnima, Balu’s mother, remembers. “The people in our village agreed, so we thought we had committed a crime in another life. We didn’t know how to take care of him.”

Balu spent most of his early years left alone in a tiny, one-room hut that his family lived in, interacting only with his parents in between their long shifts in the nearby fields. Lack of knowledge, lack of community support and with no medical services available, each day was incredibly hard.

In the time since Balu started attending Bhalabosa, he has made a dramatic changes. His parents see it clearly. They feel that he has improved so much and has found a new independence. Balu can now do basic things like shower, change his clothes and feed himself. “He struggled to do these simple things we take for granted for so long. Now he has a sense of achievement that he never had before” rejoice his parents.

Thank you for your support which helps Balu and his peers step into independence and their own unique potential. 

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Parents of disabled children in India have an extremely difficult time. They are often scorned in their villages by people who believe that they are being punished by god, and that they must have done something wrong to have a disabled child. This prejudice often happens even within families.

This social stigma, compunded by poverty and lack of access to services makes for a miserable existence for these parents.

The Bhalobasha project offers a lifeline to parents - offering not only practical support but also a different perspective. Here parents are educated about their child's condition, and are taught the truth about why their child may have been born with a disability, and how they can best look after and support their child as well as themselves.

Parents also gain a great deal from meeting each other and sharing their experiences with others who also have a disabled child. This reduces the sense of isolation they feel, and creates a sense of hope and purpose in their lives through solidarity.

I met with a group of mothers at the project when I visited recently. All of them were unanimous in their appreciation of the project and each one told me in their own way how things have changed for them since they got involved.

One mother told me - “When I first came here with my son, I was stopped by my family members many times and I used to have to lie to them to bring him to Bhalobasha. Now with the help and facilities from here, there have been remarkable changes in him, my son has started responding. My family too has now changed their outlook towards me and my son. They have started accepting my son, and I am extremely grateful to Bhalobasha for bringing changes in my him. This day care is now like a temple for me.”

Bhalobasha is changing the lives of many parents in desperate circumstances in rural West Bengal, creating a ray of hope and a sense of possibility when previously there was none.

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Diya is 3 years old. She was born prematurely and went straight to the Intensive Care Unit after her birth. She had a lot of health problems as a baby, and the doctors identified that she had developmental delayed disabilities.  Diya was under medication for four months and was regularly in hospital. Her parents were advised to enrol her in a rehabilitation centre for children with disabilities. They visited various centres and fees were too high for them to afford. Her parents had lost hope that their daughter could ever be treated.

Another relative, living in a different village, came to hear about our daycare centre through an awareness-raising camp. She passed on Diya's name and the centre then contacted her parents to ask if they would like to enrol her. On their initial registration visit, they initially could not believe that all the services provided were free of cost.

Diya has now been at the centre for six months and is making great progress against her developmental milestones.  Speech therapy has helped her to improve the time, pitch and volume in her speech. Extensive physiotherapy has enabled her to improve her motor neurone skills. She can now pull herself upright, walk about a room with support, overcome simple obstacles and can walk up stairs unassisted. 

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Organization Information

Karuna Trust

Location: London, England - United Kingdom
Facebook: Facebook Page
Project Leader:
Akashamitra Turnbull
London, England United Kingdom
$15,524 raised of $30,000 goal
15 donations
$14,476 to go
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