For over 30 years Karuna have worked with local community groups to help South Asia’s poorest people lead meaningful and dignified lives. They are committed to human development, enabling people to escape poverty, access their legal rights and participate fully in society.
In rural West Bengal, Karuna promotes girls’ education, challenges violence and fights for women’s rights, building self-reliance and creating strong communities where they have a voice.
One third of girls in the developing world are married before the age of 18 and one in nine are married before the age of 15. Girls in these villages in West Bengal are illegally married off at a very young age, leaving school early and perpetuating the cycle of poverty. Karuna works with these communities and promotes girls education.
In rural villages, many women have been married young and are confined to their homes, where they are socially isolated and domestic violence can continue undetected. Bringing women together to create artisans for sale provides an extra income but more essentially brings women together to share their experiences and build networks in the community.
Karuna supports programmes which educate whole communities about these issues, empowering 14,000 women to claim and stand up for their rights.
For India’s poorest and most marginalised communities, education is the key to escaping the burden of poverty and discrimination. Many Dalit and Tribal Children either never access education or drop out of school after just a couple of years.
Often children end up following their parents into unskilled labour where they earn well below subsistence in appalling conditions. Karuna is helping 14,000 boys and girls across India to enjoy a quality education, to escape poverty and to look forward to a brighter future.