The Child Resource Centre back then
So this is my first post on global giving as a fundraiser for the Karuna Trust. It's clear that we have strong support here for this incredible project that really is transforming the lives of over a thousand children on the ground. Thank you very much for your continued support.
I'm happy to be able to share even a few of the many successes that this project has enjoyed over the past few months.
First and foremost, the Child Resource Centre that lies very much at the centre of this project has been completed and its activities are in full-flow! This is a massive achievement given that its construction was such a massive undertaking. The building of the Child Resource Centre was impeded at different times by a number of barriers, including a shortage of trained labourers and a surge in the prices of building materials. All's well that ends well, however! and through the determination and consistent efforts of our partner, the building is now fully in operation and has been hitting the ground running. Vocational and other training programs, counselling and a well-equipped library are some of the many initiatives that are being run from the Centre at present. You can see from the 'then' and 'now' pictures the amount of work that has gone into building this wonderful space.
At the core of this project is of course getting kids out of child labour and poverty and instead getting them into school. With the help of our local project partner, NISD, all the children of the village are now attending school. That’s up from 72% when the project work began in 2003. If you're anything like me, it's easy to let statistics like this go straight over your head, but this one really struck me. An increase of 72% over the last 7 years really is something to shout about.
The achievements that have stemmed from the consistent and concerted efforts of all stake-holders with the help of NISD in the areas of education and health are equally as impressive:
- 140 school children received appropriate and timely education support materials. This played a significant role in encouraging them to continue their schooling.
- 843 children are reaping the benefits of support classes to improve their reading skills.
- Computer classes have helped many children to overcome their fears of using a computer and have enabled them to appreciate the uses and importance of the internet in the modern world.
- Child Protection Committees are working to cultivate a safe and secure atmosphere for children in their villages. 30 of these have been set up.
- 742 young children are receiving care and attention through supplementary nutrition and pre-primary education during the absence of their mothers whilst at work.
- 157 kitchen gardens have been developed and entire families are benefiting from the nutritious vegetables that they are yielding.
- The growth of 531 children is monitored on a regular basis.
- The Child Parliaments have mobilised children to understand their rights and have equipped them to access education.
- NISD’s activities have been given added impetus at a grassroots level through the growing strength of youth-led groups such as the child parliament and self-help groups.
Not all positive change can or indeed should be measurable in terms of numbers. At Karuna we strongly hold that mind change, that is a change in consciousness, is needed in order to bring about meaningful social change. So feelings of self-worth and agency among our beneficiaries is one of the most important things for us. The impact of the project in this area can be best summed up by the words of the Executive Director of NISD in his recent progress update:
NISD is also experiencing success in making changes in the mindsets of local people, particularly about the burning issues of child care and development, child participation and child protection. Now people are actually starting to think and are also paying attention to child-related issues, committed to securing a brighter future for their children. The bidi rolling women had very little expectations about the future of their girls as they were resigned to the likelihood that their daughters would start working as bidi rollers too. Now, however, these women have started to think that there girls will not actually enter into this hazardous line of work. On the contrary, they want to educate their girls so that they can enter into other lines of work.
When considered in the context of a society highly stratified along the lines of gender and caste, such changes are not merely a small step, but a big leap.
I hope that you will share in our happiness at the progress that is being made and as ever, thank you for your continued support.