Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India

by Karuna Trust
Summary of Activities and Achievements

The project has successfully continued to organise various courses and is managing to enroll new girls from the same slum areas. Girls are building their confidence, communication skills, a network of peers, and the ability to face the difficult situations they encounter. There is particular interest and success in the provision of vocational skills training, which has allowed many girls from the community to get jobs and become financially independent.

The project team has built a good rapport with both the communities that they work in and other small NGOs operating in the area.

Another notable achievement is that many girls who had previously dropped out of school have re-enrolled through their contact with the project and are now attending school regularly. Study support classes continue to help these and other girls to remain in education. Overall, girls’ education has improved greatly in these slum communities, with a number of girls successfully enrolling in university.

Specific Project Activities
  • A total of 1,188 girls have attended sessions on the importance of good nutrition, maternal and neo-natal health and raising awareness of anaemia, including 104 girls who attended haemoglobin check-up camps.
  • A total of 638 girls have attended sessions and workshops increasing their awareness and knowledge of hygiene and health. Of these, 248 girls attended health check-up camps.
  • 438 girls learnt about their bodies, with a particular emphasis on their reproductive systems, and the effects of early pregnancy. 41 of these attended pre-marriage counselling workshops. 
  • 1,627 girls have greater self-confidence, communication skills and are better equipped to respond effectively when they face violence, after: a number of life skills sessions, communication workshops, increased awareness around domestic violence and sexual abuse, and visits outside the slums, to banks, orphanages and police centres. 206 of these girls have undertaken computing or tailoring courses which will allow them to take steps towards financial self-sufficiency. 

Name:        Prachi Kamble.

Age:           18 years

Education: 10th STD


I know the project well because my mother did a fashion design course and told me about it. I was interested to do something similar which would allow me to get a job, so I could help the family.

There are 5 of us in the family. My father works as a servant in a bungalow in Koregaon Park. He also does maintenance work there. My mother is a house wife. I have one younger brother and he is in the 9th STD. My grandmother is very old. My father’s income is not enough to fulfill our family needs, and so I decided to find a job to support the family. This was how I came to enroll on a computer course.

 Feelings and feedback:

This was my first time, in my life, sitting in front of a computer. In addition to these computer classes, I also learned a number of other skills important in our day to day life like communication skills, awareness on HIV and AIDS, knowledge about our bodies and reproductive systems and so forth. 

I am really satisfied with how this course as gone, especially because the teachers were very cooperative and helpful. After finishing the course I got a job at the Videocon call centre. I feel confident enough to do my job well, and I am very happy to the foundation for supporting me.

Prachi’s Mother says:

After joining the computer course there was a tremendous change in Prachi. She learnt how to respect her elders, how to behave with family members; listening to them and trying to understand what they are saying. Before joining the course she did not listen to us. She has changed now. Her father too is very happy with her and her achievements.


Dear supporters,

This week's update is a short but colourful one. 

The project continues to benefit many girls, especially in the new slum areas where it has started working. As you can imagine, it's not always top priority to collect stories from the different girls. Instead, with this update, I am happy to share with you many recent pictures we have received many recent pictures from the project.

As I stated in my recent report, one of the greatest things the project offers the girls, aside from all the essential life and vocational skills training, is the opportunity to enjoy time with other girls of the same age.

Instead of being trapped in a house waiting for the day they are married, they are able to see that there are others in their situation, that they can form friendships, and together they can work towards a brighter future for themselves.

I think that you can see that clearly in these pictures, and I hope you enjoy them as much as I did. 

Life Skills Class
Life Skills Class
Health awareness through body training
Health awareness through body training
Sex Education Workshop
Sex Education Workshop
Priti Sewing
Priti Sewing

Here's the story of how I changed my life.

I am Priti Kachi. 18 years old. My father died when I was in school.

He was a fisherman, and my mother a housewife. She had no work stills or education so we were fighting to earn enough money for food last year. Last year I also passed my high school examination with good grades.

My older brother, who is 19, decided that I can't go to university because we don't have the money. I felt very sad, but knew that our mother was struggling to cope financially, and so I quit studying.

One day, the women from the foundation came to our house and told us about the tailoring class. My mother and brother gave me permission to go to these classes. I am happy now. I have been learning toiling skills, communication and negotiation skills and time management. Before this I was just stuck in the house, helping with chores and watching tv shows. I was becoming very rude.

Now I have changed completely from being with the other girls in class. I am enjoying my life now that it has changed. I like that I'm earning money to help my mother in this changed life. 

I only want to say thank you to all of you. Without these skills, maybe I would be nothing. 

Priti and her mother
Priti and her mother

As I reported last week, thanks to our briefly being the highest ranked project, and some very generous donations, we recently fully funded the project for the current year (2012/13). Here is a short report from the project on the activities of the previous year.

The project successfully recruited a full team of social workers and community leaders through which it delivered its twelve month life skills, health and nutrition course.

Through the life skills course:

  • 1,620 girls were educated about the importance of a healthy and nutritious food;
  • 1,980 girls learnt about anaemia;
  • 1,280 girls attended a courses on the importance of personal hygiene;
  • 1,000 girls learnt about the effects of pregnancy in youth;
  • 810 girls learnt about anatomy and their bodies;
  • 972 girls learnt self-confidence and communication skills;
  • 720 girls learnt about sexual abuse.

Without these courses, these girls are unlikely to have ever been able to learn about topics such as these; as such information is not available to them in the community.

This year, an internal evaluation of the project was conducted. The outcome of the evaluation was very encouraging, and on the basis of it, the project has been extended to begin working with some new communities in the Vishrantwadi slum areas. It continues to operate in the older areas three days a week.

Dr Mune and the team are very well acquainted with these communities so they have also been able to respond appropriately to demands as they have emerged. In this regard, this year the project team undertook many ‘unscheduled’ activities. These included: the formation and support of 11 women’s self-help groups; facilitating and supporting the formation of ‘girl parliament’ groups for each community; conducting sex-education and other life skills classes in schools; running some classes for boys in these schools; and collaborating with other NGOs in order to bring awareness to issues of HIV/AIDS.

Perhaps the least quantifiable achievement has been the delight that the girls have experienced in being able to meet with other girls: to talk to them about their lives, to make friends, and to know that they are not alone in their situation.

I shall continue, as always, to keep you posted with stories from the ground.

Thank you to all of you supporters who have made, and continue to make, this work possible.


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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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