Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India

by Karuna Trust

It’s not only the girls who participate in the project that benefit from it – the change in the confidence, self-esteem and capabilities they experience has a wider impact on their families and those around them. A mother of one of the project girls speaks about her experience -

* Savita Manic Sonawne               

I am Savita and my daughter name is Vidya .before she was not talking frankly to anybody. Now she is doing her work in time. I observe her - she is speaking confidently I am very happy about her. Thanks to women`s empowerment project.  

Rubina at her computer class
Rubina at her computer class

Rubina Chand Patel, Aged 17

"Before joining the computer class in Vishrantwadi, I didn't know anything about computers. They were very new to me and I felt that I'd never be able to learn. There was a real fear in my mind, but after starting to learn that fear ceased.

I feel that I'm learning a new skill that is very important and helpful for my future life.

I wish to learn more in the advance course".


We're delighted to announce that Karunaprabha, leader of this project, has been successfully nominated for One World Action's 100 Powerful (Unseen) Women award.

The women come from over 40 countries and have all contributed to positive social change on either a grassroots or global level. To learn more about this initiative, please follow this link:


A huge congratulations to Karunaprabha for her momentous contribution to alleviating suffering in the slums of Vishrantwadi.



Shilpa's Story - aged 20 years

Once there was a survey in my community. Through that survey I have came to know about this class. I have decided to join the class and to learn the sewing skills. I left the school in 6th STD and after that did not join any course. But now I have completed the course successfully. The course has build confidence in me. I learn different types of blouse and Panjabi suits. I have started taking orders from outside and earn money from it. My brother gave me money to buy a secondhand machine. I am very happy now. After my marriage also I will keep on stitching the blouse and dresses.

I am very thankful to your project and giving me the skills and confidence to be independent.


A reminder of what this project is trying to do. More details can be found on Karuna's website:


The average time a women in South Asia will attend school is 1.8 years.

Recent research in India suggests that two thirds of women who lives in slums have anaemia and vitamin A deficiency due to poor nutrition.

India has the highest malnutrition rate in the world- it affects a quarter of the population.

The Vishrantwadi project is a health education project; it is working to reverse the current trends and improve the lack of adequate health and education provision for women. The Vishrantwadi Project was setup and is run and managed by women for the advancement of women, it was the first project setup by the Women’s Social and Dhamma project. The aim of the project is to improve the lives of women by addressing some of the most common problems such as- reducing malnutrition, promoting self-confidence, eradicating incidents of domestic violence and increasing the autonomy of women.

The project works in 10 slums in the Pune area; it has set up a women’s committee in each slum. The slum committees work together with the Vishrantwadi project to improve awareness and access to healthcare. In recent years, the committees have run a number of health camps and nutrition awareness sessions which offer practical solutions to local health issues such as sanitation, clean water, pollution and sexual health. The results have been very encouraging; women are now taking a greater responsibility for health issues within their families. By becoming more health and hygiene conscious communities are able to reduce the prevalence of disease and vermin.


The other major undertaking of the Vishrantwadi project is a one year education course that is offered to girls in the slums. There are many financial and social reasons which explain why women in India are prevented from finishing school- the Vishrantwadi education project is offering girls a second chance. The project takes a practical approach to education- one of the major focus of the project is the health awareness programme, there is an acceptance that most of the girls will have families at a young age; girls are therefore given practical lessons on caring for a family in the slums. This includes basic hygiene, nutrition, first aid, sexual health lessons as well as pre and post-natal advice.

The education programme has a varied syllabus; it addresses and prepares girls with skills that they are likely to use in life such as- household budgeting, negotiation, self-esteem and legal rights specifically regarding domestic violence and caste prejudice. Finally, the programme works with local training centres and employers to give girls vocational training and work experience. Women benefit from lessons in sewing, computer training (in association with the Karuna Computer Education Centre), entrepreneurship and accountancy.


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Organization Information

Karuna Trust

Location: London, England - United Kingdom
Website: http:/​/​www.karuna.org/​
Project Leader:
Steven Murdoch
Staff Member
London, UK United Kingdom

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