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
Programme Manager Jonathan Clark
Programme Manager Jonathan Clark

Programme managers summary

During the last 6 months the project has implemented home visits more intensively as a means to making contact directly not only with the girls, but with their mothers.  The team has recognised that when the mothers feel confident and convinced about the safety of their girls they allow them much more freedom.

A particular highlight over the last six months has been working with 30 8th Standard girls who arrived at their school illiterate.  Through the support study classes these 30 girls are now reading and writing without difficulty and showing more motivation and interest in their studies generally.

Green Tara has a good reputation in the communities it works in and focuses successfully on continuity of rapport with both direct and indirect beneficiaries.

Major Achievements

  • 80% of girls who have completed the project’s vocational training in the last six months are earning money through stitching and garment making activities. One of the girls who have graduated during the reporting period id now running her own business.
  • The teams have made progress in reaching out to the Muslim community in the area. Before the team needed to encourage the women from the community to attend by going door to door. Now the women are taking the initiative in approaching the project and joining activities.  
  • Seven girls refused early marriage during the reporting period. This is very unusual in the community where young girls have little say in their future.  Early marriage results in girls dropping out of school, leaving them completely dependent. In each case the girls are pursuing higher education or professional qualifications. 
  • One 16 year old girl convinced her parents to allow her to complete her training as a tailor.  They had already fixed a marriage for her but now they have agreed she can marry when she is 18.
  • A girl who was a beneficiary of the project was supported to take file a police report against her brother who was sexually attacking her and her sisters at night. This demonstrates strong increase in confidence by the girls who would have been shamed into keeping quiet without help from the team.


There has been a challenge in finding ways of ensuring the girls regularity at the study classes. This is caused by the mothers who often work and need the girls to stay at home and look after younger siblings or do housework. It was found that 75% of the fathers were unemployed. The project is now working actively with the mothers to get the fathers more involved in the day-to-day activities in the home.

There is also challenge ensuring that the girls have enough time for their extra tuition. One school now actively supports the team to run tuition classes for two hours before school. The results are clear that girls need this extra time. In June, 30 girls entered school, aged 13, and none of them could read or write.  With extra tuition and home visits the girls are now literate and as a result not only display more confidence but are far more motivated in their studies generally. One challenge with the extra tuition groups is finding staff who can teach mixed-ability groups. Staff training will be needed and also more continuity with the same teacher.

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Ruby, 12, lives with her mother and two brothers in a shack constructed of tin in the slum of Gunjar Vasti.

Before joining project activities Ruby’s family had migrated from a village to a city slum and Ruby found the change very difficult. Ruby was doing poorly at school and she felt it difficult to sit still or to concentrate for very long. She was always in trouble with her teachers. This worried Rubys mother who felt that she was intelligent and had lots of potential.

However Ruby’s mother couldn’t help Ruby with her studies because she had never had the opportunity to go to school herself. So she enrolled Ruby in the projects study support classes in October of 2015.  

With help from the project team Ruby is now doing well in school. She is reading and writing English and got good marks in her recent exams. Before Ruby was very shy but she is making friends and has become confident in making the journey to school on her own. Ruby wants to be a teacher in the future and now feels like she can do it with the help of the project. Thank you to all our supporters who helped Ruby overcome her obstacles.

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Renuka is 11 years old. She is in 7th standard in school. Her father died when she was young. Her mother works on a building site doing manual labour. She comes from a very poor family. As is common in India Renuka's eldest sister dropped out of school in 2nd standard to work at home with her mother.

Renuka has been involved in the project for a year. She joined to do the computer classes and the healthy recipe tutorials.  She has since got involved in other areas of the project such as school study support classes. Renuka now performs well in Maths and English where previously she struggled.

In the future Renuka wants to build a bungalow for her mother to stay with her. But for now Renuka is happy making friends and being able to play with other girls her age.  None of this would have been possible without the support of the project and its supporters.

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Daneshwari, 18, comes from the Vishrantwadi slum area of Pune, India. The project started activities in her area last year. She heard about the project through her friends who had all decided to join the projects activities.

Like many young women in India Daneshwari knew very little of the world outside of household chores. She was unaware of how her body worked, about gender equality or her rights to be free from violence. For Daneshwari life consisted of dropping out of school and marrying early.

When she joined project activities one of the first things Daneshwari learned about was proper nutrition and the role of iron and b-12 in a proper diet. She learnt about changes in her body as she approached puberty and how these were normal. “This kind of questions and information I could never ask my mother, whatever information I got, I shared with my mother who didn’t know all this. I could also share this information with my sister and my friends”.

Daneshwari was taken to visit the local police station and learned how to file a complaint on domestic abuse. Similarly the girls went to the bank and were taught how to open a bank account and manage their own finances, including how to access a loan for education.

Most importantly Daneshwari made friends with other women and girls in her area. Often when girls drop out of school they become isolated in the home, losing their confidence and ability to socialise. “I got the confidence to step out in to the world. I interacted with people of my age and other age groups as well I also saw how the world outside my house is”.

Daneshwari completed her 12th Standard education with the help of the projects education support work. This is unusual for girls in the area who often leave well before they complete secondary schooling. She completed a three month training course with the project and now is working in a local company and supporting her family through her earnings. None of this would have been possible without the help of the project and its supporters.   

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Santoshi, 18, lives in the slum area of Vishrantwadi in Pune, India. She lives with her five sisters and one brother. The house the family live in does not have basic amenities such as a toilet or running water. Santoshi works doing domestic chores for local families. She earns about £10 per month.

Santoshi knew other girls from the area who were involved with the project’s training programmes. Santoshi had dropped out of school to help support her family but did not want to continue working doing domestic work for little money. So Santoshi approached the project to see about joining the local activities for adolescent girls.

Santoshi joined the project’s three month garment making course. When she first joined she had no confidence and could not interact with the other girls. But as she became more confident in stitching her confidence to communicate grew as well.  

Now Santoshi earns £50 per month making garments for the local market. With the extra money the family can afford better nutrition and good clothes. Prior to Santoshi joining the project the family used open fires to cook. The smoke from the fire had bad consequences for the family’s health. Recently Santoshi bought a gas cylinder for cooking so the family has a safe way of cooking.

Without the help of the project Santoshi could not have made this contribution and would not have gained her confidence and dignity. Thank you to everybody who supported this to happen.

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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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