Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Do you have 6 weeks to spare this Spring?

 Andrea writes from Triratna’s Karuna Trust (, where she works as Communications Officer. Karuna raise and send well over £1million a year to India for social and Dhamma projects - most of which is raised by volunteer fundraisers from the Triratna Buddhist Community. And they’d love to hear from you! She says -

"Hello readers of Triratna News

"Do you have 6 weeks to spare this spring?
In addition to our legendary door-to-door appeals, Karuna are now running Telephone Fundraising Campaigns. This is when a team of Sangha fundraisers come together in the afternoons and evenings over a 6-week period to phone Karuna supporters. The task is to ask them if they’d consider increasing their donation to fund projects supporting the Dalit community in India.

• You’ll need to be available full-time from 30 May to 8 July
• Phone campaigns are non-residential
• You’ll be based in the Karuna offices in North London
• Training is from 3pm and then calling Karuna donors until 9.30pm
• Financial support is offered

The experience is less challenging than cold calling people on the doorstep - existing or former donors almost universally have a positive response to the charity. However, you will still have the challenge of re-connecting them to their heart response to the Dalit cause in the midst of their busy lives, and of course the challenge of asking them for money!

Karuna was formed in 1980 in response to the suffering of India’s Dalit community. For 30-years Karuna has worked with some of India’s most disadvantaged people. We send over £1million every to year supporting hundreds of thousands of men, women and children through projects that build dignity and challenge discrimination.

Investing in education
Dalit children often experience shame from being made to sit separately in class and during mealtimes for fear of polluting higher caste children. Many suffer the humiliation of having to carry out their ‘caste duty’ of cleaning school toilets. Girls in particular may not be considered worthy of an education or extreme poverty forces their parents to put them to work. Dalit girls often don’t even make it to school, and over 83% drop out before they complete their secondary education. Yet a girl with 7 years or more of education will have fewer & healthier children and contribute more money to her household.

Karuna is investing in girls’ futures through an organization called Nishta, which is working with 250 low-caste girls living in villages near Kolkatta. Through posters & door-to-door awareness work they are encouraging parents to keep their daughters in schools. Sumita is one girl who has stayed in school. She says, “My mother is striving hard to keep the family. Often we have to manage without two meals. But with the support of Nishta, I have been going to school regularly.”

A positive challenge
On a phone campaign you’ll be asked to bring a story like Sumita’s alive to our supporters. Leigh Smith, a mitra from the Croydon Sangha who fundraised on a telephone campaign last year says, “I found fundraising for Karuna an engaging, effective and highly beneficial practice; it was a positive challenge, a wonderful way to practice and refine skillful communication.”

If you feel inspired by Karuna’s work in Asia, would like to put your practice to the test over the telephone, and have 6-weeks spare this spring, please get in touch with Jo Goldsmid who will be leading the spring campaign. Phone 0207 700 3434 or email

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