Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India

by Karuna Trust
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Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India
Slums in Pune
Slums in Pune

Living in a slum in Pune, Manasi, 44, lives hand to mouth. Her husband passed away 6 years ago.  Manasi was then alone in the care for her severely disabled adult daughter. Here, she shares the difficulties she has faced due to the coronavirus pandemic and the huge difference your support has made: 

I was working in a restaurant as a cleaning lady before Covid-19 pandemic started. When the pandemic started, the Government shut down all the restaurants. I lost my job so income stopped completely. I was so shocked. I had no money saved with me and had so many big worries.

My daughter can’t walk or talk. After my husband died, I need to be at home at least half a day so I can work only part time. Hence I received only half day’s payment. Because of this, I had no savings at all.  

Somehow we were surviving. Some days were worse than others. There were two days when we ate only bread and tea. I heard about a project that was distributing grocery kits,so my neighbour gave me their number. I called from my neighbour’s phone and asked for help for food. The next day, a social worker from the project came and gave us a grocery package that would last us at least for two months. That night, I ate until I was full. 

Around that time, I fell down and broken my hand.  I needed an operation on my hand but I could not afford it. I had no money. But there were also questions like, who will look after my daughter? I did not have any relatives in the city. Again, this project helped me with this. They provided me with more groceries and with assistance so I could go to the hospital and get treatment. 

When I received this help, it gave me confidence that there are positive actions and people in the world.”

Thank you for helping Manasi and others in her community that are facing such dire challenges at this time. Your support is really valued.

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"I’m Aatisha and I’m in 9th standard. I'm 13 years old. I live in the slum area of Vishrantwadi, in Pune.

I live with my grandfather, grandmother, uncle, aunty, and my father. My father is a labourer, working on the construction sites and my mother died 4 years ago. My grandfather is very old hence he has to do whatever job he can find. My grandmother works as domestic help. My uncle cannot work as he is mentally not well.

In my house, everyday my father would come home drunk and fight with my grandfather and my grandmother. I didn’t like it when he fought with them. I was feeling there was no one for me in the world but the project’s social worker helped me come out of this situation. 

The pandemic started and my school was shut down. It seemed that my education would come to a stop. I didn’t have a smartphone to join online classes and I could not afford to buy one. I was feeling very sad, but what to do?

The social worker came to my house and enquired about me and my situation about studying in school. I felt I was cared for because of her. She gave me a laptop so I could attend my studies remotely. We also come together in fewer numbers and with precautions for Covid-19 and attend class. We sit at a distance, wearing a mask. Sometimes, our teacher showed us some videos which were funny also but very educational. Many girls like me are benefitting very much from this. I also made friends in class, so it doesn’t feel as if I’m only at school to learn.  After joining class, I am out of my house for 2 hours and that gives me the energy and inspiration for education from other girls in class. I don’t fear the coronavirus but I fear my home situation in lockdown. But due to class, I get to study. I also am relieved from housework and all of this together has given me confidence. I am also going to give my exam for SSC next year. So thank you for giving me the opportunity for studying during these times, as well as providing the groceries for my family when my father and grandparents were out of work. It has made a great difference to me and my family.”



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“I am Varsha. I’m studying in 8th standard. In my home, I have four younger brothers, my father collects rubbish for a living and in total we’re seven family members. Since I am the elder one in the house, the responsibilities of the house are on my shoulders. Cleaning the utensils, sweeping the house, cooking meals, washing clothes, taking care of my younger brothers, etc are my responsibilities. Along with these, I also have to study. 

Since we don’t have much money, we don’t have gas at home. We can’t get kerosene so I have to cook on a ‘chul’ (earthen stove with open fire used for cooking). My father buys rice and dal ingredients every day. My mother is always ill. She is anemic and also my younger brother is very small, so she breastfeeds him, so become weaker. This is why I do the housework.

I have to finish my responsibilities and then I attend school classes. I like the classes where they also show stories. I like be with my friends and not be too long in my house. In the house, I am very busy but in class, I can chat with my friends and we have jokes and fun. I enjoy class with fewer girls in the group, which has happened since the COVID-19 situation.

I have ambitions of becoming a teacher, to earn money and to help my family. However,  my father is thinking of my marriage. He has decided on my marriage to his friend’s son. I am aware of the problems of child marriages and in the past I participated in rally by the project against child marriage, so I know this is against law. I get strength from my girls’ group of the project to fight at home for my right to education. 

I want to stop my marriage. My grandmother came to us to marry me off.  She said to me that in the pandemic we don’t need as much money for the wedding so this is a good opportunity for me to get married. I discussed my wish with my parents to continue my education and explained I’m not willing to marry, stating that it is against the law. They are convinced. I am especially thankful to the ‘tai’ (elder sister) from the project for helping my friends and me to solve this situation. 

I am feeling relaxed now and I can concentrate on my study.

“We, ourselves, should speak up if anyone is trying to stop our education, even if it’s our own family.”

Your support helps Varsha and her friends to continue their education and to prevent child marriage. Thank you. 

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Girls using donated phones for online study
Girls using donated phones for online study

With the global pandemic, circumstances in the slums of Pune continue to be harsh. Yet with assistance from your support, 90 girls aged 15-16 are benefitting from online learning through the use of mobile phones. Students with WiFi access in their slums are being supplied with phones. We are supporting our partners to ensure that these young people are not further disadvantaged at this time. 

Most students required support in learning how to use these phones, but after initial socially-distanced tutorials, they are able to access their regular lessons, until their schools are able to re-open. While this doesn't address the challenges of the mixing their home and study environment, it ensures that students' learning can continue.  

Your donations help ensure that no child is left behind. Thank you for your support. 

With gratitude,

Erika Narkiewicz

www.karuna.org

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During the coronavirus pandemic and associated measures, such as lockdown and social distancing, life in heavily populated, underresourced slums has been stretched to the limit. Our partners have provided masks, basic sanitation and for those who have lost their daily-wage work, food and associated parcels.

Dayita lives in a slum district in Pune and usually works as a domestic helper on a daily wage. She had some assistance in this, due to having one hand. Her work and support stopped due to lockdown, while the indeed to care for her two daughters, as a widow, continued.

For work to stop one day and to have no food the next is the reality for many families, including Dayita. She accessed government support but received a 2kg bag of rice; she was left hugely worried about the future for her family.

Dayita shares her experience of reaching out to our partners who work in the slums: “I always talk with them as they guide me in my difficult situations. I always get some path after talking to them. They said we will help you… I cannot express my feelings in words when on phone they said we will provide groceries to you.

I felt like crying. When I saw kit which includes rice, wheat ,soap, oil, sugar, masala, lentils- it’s all that my family would need in the lockdown period. I feel that even in this time, humanity is still somewhere, even today. My relatives have not inquired about me but this organisation has helped me to come out of this situation. I now have enough groceries to last me for at least two months.”

Thank you for your continued support of this project at this challenging time.

With gratitude,

Erika Narkiewicz

Karuna Trust

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Organization Information

Karuna Trust

Location: London, England - United Kingdom
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @karuna_trust_uk
Project Leader:
keval shah
London, UK United Kingdom
$155,286 raised of $200,000 goal
 
831 donations
$44,714 to go
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