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

Thank you for continuing to support this vital work at such a challenging time. I'm writing to give you an update on the situation on the ground, with India's lockdown having been extended. We are in regular contact with our partners. While we remain commited to our focus of education for all, gender equality and dignified livelihoods, we are responding to the effects of the coronavirus in India with emergency relief efforts.

To support this project, last week we sent funds to provide food parcels and hygiene kits to 300 families in the slum district of Pune. We also supported the production and distribution of health awareness material and the distribution of 1000 masks. 

We will continue to keep you updated as the situation and related needs change. If you would like to support the ongoing urgent relief effort across our projects please visit www.globalgiving.org/projects/karuna-coronavirus-appeal/

With warm wishes and gratitude,

Erika Narkiewicz


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Girls in the project practice speaking out!
Girls in the project practice speaking out!

Meena is growing up in a difficult slum and was growing up lacking confidence and refusing opportunities to go to school. From a family with very little literacy, Meena didn't see a way of learning without being laughed at by other girls. Fortunately, this project reached out to Meena and things have changed.

It's our privilege to share Meena's story of change with you:

"In our classes, we are told about our rights. Many different activities increased my confidence. I've started talking, standing in front of the girls. My fears have disappeared. I've started understanding how to be a leader. I learned how to resist bad things.  I learned good things. I learned that girls also have rights as boys do. Now, I can even talk about my rights at my home. 

My studies are progressing. If there are any girls in the area whose education is stopped, then I will try to tell community organiser and she can get help to complete her education. I understand how to protect myself now. When a boy in the school was doing eve teasing (sexual harrassment), I immediately told the teacher and informed home of the incident too. Fear did not remain in my mind. With confidence in me now I can speak without fear.

I want to be an IPS (Indian Polie Service) Officer in the future. I want to be in the same locality and make changes. I want to emphasize the importance of education to all. After learning in class I told my mom that when I will get married and have my own family, at that time I will not discriminate boy and girl and I will give equal rights to both. I also fight for my rights at home and told my mother whatever you give to my brother I also want that. Since then, my mom gives us both things equally.  

This change in me, this confidence, getting the to this stage, it is all due to attending classes here. I thank this project very much."

With your support with can continue to support Meena and her peers to get an equal education and to take their place in society with pride. Thank you for your role in this journey! 

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Shalini, outside the family home
Shalini, outside the family home
Shalini, pictured:
“I’m in 6th standard. There are 9 people in my family - my grandma, my brothers, my parents and my two sisters.
When I first started coming to the project, it was against the will of my family. They really didn’t want me to come. Then the social workers came to see my family, and explained about the environment - how it’s safe and there are no men there. 
I’ve now been attending for a while. I love it here. I’ve been getting help with all my school work at daily tuition classes, which means I understand what’s going on now and am starting to enjoy school. I also like that I have lots of friends here. 
At the moment my family say that they’re only going to let me study until 7th standard. That’s what happened with both of my sisters. They’re scared because my sister was sexuality assaulted and they worry something similar will happen to me. But I really want to keep studying.
Thank you so much for supporting these classes. I’m hoping that I can keep coming, even if it means resisting marriage.”
We support Shalini in her thanks; your donations ensure Shalini and other girls at risk of early marriage are supported to continue their education.
Thank you!
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This month, I thought I'd talk about the small plays and dramas that our girls write and perform. 

When we first start working with girls in a new slum area, they are incredibly shy and unconfident. Having been ignored and not spoken to in both the home and at school, as well as not having been allowed much out of the home, they are not used to speaking to others, making friends or expressing themselves. 

One of the things the girls love about meeting in their groups is being able to see their friends and play. One of the ways that this 'play' can also help them learn about their position as girls, is through the creation of small dramas on the topics they have learnt about. Girls get together, create, write and enact their own small plays with their friends on topics such as child rights, the position of the girl in the home, early marriage and domestic violence. 

This kind of drama allows the girls to express themselves and also builds their confidence. When they are confident enough, some of our girls may even go and perform such dramas on the street for the wider public. Not only is this empowering for them - it is a lively way of making other girls and the local community think about these issues.

I wanted to upload a video of such a play, but it doesn't seem like thar's possible here, so I've included two photos of street performances from earlier in the year.

Thank you so much for all the support you give. It helps to transform the lives of our girls, and lets them have some much needed fun on the way. 

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Poonam in her doorway
Poonam in her doorway

Poonam (name changed) is 14 and lives in one of the slums where Green Tara has been working for a few years. She is fourteeen and is the youngest of four sisters. Her mother and father both labour for daily wages, as a domestic helper and a contstruction worker respectively. Poonam had this to say in March about her involvement in our project over the last year:

"Before joining classes at Green Tara, I couldn't really read or write, and especially couldn't express myself with any confidence. I had really low self-esteem and my siblings and parents would be very unkind to me, which I would just accept. 

Then one day, I met Nirmala [a Green Tara social worker], who told me about the tuition classes being run by Green Tara. After starting to attend these classes I learnt to read and write properly. Because of the confidence that I gained from this, I also started to speak out and voice my opinion more about rights in the home and community. 

With Green Tara we organised a rally advocating cleanliness and prevention of child marriage. I understand now that girls should not be married before they are adults. I'm passionate about advocating for this now, and I have decided that in the future I want a career where I can educate more people about the harmful effects of child marriage, and raise awareness of women's issues.

I have also learn that as girls we have the right to learn and grow - this is not something that should only be limited to boys. My parents think that because I'm a girl I cannot become educated, and become a doctor. Now, because of Green Tara Foundation, I want to change their thinking. I want to prove to them that I am entitled to education and freedom to become and be whatever I want."


Thank you for your continued support, which means that girls like Poonam have a chance of breaking out of a cycle of poverty and early marriage in the slums. This wouldn't be possible without your generous donations. 

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Organization Information

Karuna Trust

Location: London, England - United Kingdom
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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