Empower girls like Priti in slums in Pune, India

by Karuna Trust
Aug 8, 2014

Renuka: Stitching, Writing and Reading

Renuka outside her house
Renuka outside her house

Renuka, pictured here, is an eighteen-year-old girl who has benefitted from the activities and programmes offered by the project. Her family includes herself, her parents, three siblings and one sister-in-law. Her parents work as labourers at construction sites, where they carry cement bags. Due to the severe drought in their village, they had to relocate to the city in search of a livelihood. Renuka was forced to discontinue her education to take care of her three siblings who are in the 11th, 9th and 7th standards respectively. However, Renuka was reluctant to return to school to study with children who are much younger than her.

The project team met Renuka when conducting a survey in her community. She was offered help to re-join school, however upon voicing her hesitation, she was instead offered the option of joining the tailoring course which she accepted. Renuka has been using these new tailoring skills to find paid work for the last seven months, stitching clothes for neighbours and earning respect of her family and community whilst doing so. She also learned to read and write with the other children in the organisation.

“I learnt a lot from other girls who were learning with me,” Renuka explains. “I learnt the way to talk and behave and this changed my personality. Now I dress up neatly and properly and I tend my hair properly too. In the past I was not very tidy about it. Staying back at my house, I could have never been able to speak so well. I feel that a lot of my aspirations have been fulfilled. I have a feeling that I can do something and today I am able to earn on my own. This helps me to live life happily.”

Today Renuka thinks that she will not have to endure the arduous work her mother had to. She says “thanks to the tailoring course, I will be able to earn by putting in less efforts than my mother.  Now that I can read and write, I will not face problems travelling places. My family includes me in the decision-making process and when getting me married, they will surely take my views into consideration.”  She is pictured here, demonstrating her newfound tailoring and designing skills, and is wearing a dress she made herself in the first photograph.

Renuka Tailoring
Renuka Tailoring

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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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