Friday, June 10, 2011

Latest news and developments from The Karuna Trust

Andrea from The Karuna Trust writes:-

Dear Readers of Triratna News
Last week on Triratna News, Bodhiketu wrote about his experience of being on the pioneering Karuna ‘One Year Appeal’, known as Viramandala.  They're a team of 5 men (Bodhiketu, Priyadaka, Silajala, Sanghanath and Jayaraja) who have been door-knocking in London since September 2010 to raise money for Karuna’s projects in India. In that time they have raised £400,000 to help India’s Dalit community. Here’s just some of the ways we spend the money raised on the doors.

Education - giving Indian children a good start in life
In India, as in many developing countries around the world, education is one of the key ways to reduce poverty and inequality. We're funding early childhood projects in Maharashtra, which teach parents how to interact with their child through touch and play. Through this we’re reaching 5000 parents and children aged from birth to 3-years.

Human Rights - placing forgotten people on the map
Nomadic and 'de-notified' tribes live in extreme poverty, have low levels of education and face extreme discrimination. With money raised on the doors, we’re about to fund a new partner, the New Initiative for Reclamation of Mankind (NIRMAN) who work with these forgotten people in the state of Maharashtra. NIRMAN's main aim is getting these people included in the India census. This means they'll be able to claim their state entitlements such as school places.

Women's Empowerment - creating a network of connection and support across India
The 2nd Karuna Women's Conference took place in India in February. It was attended by 24 female delegates from 12 of Karuna's partners. It's a unique event because it's specifically for Indian women working in NGOs.

The main outcome of the conference was the strengthening of 'Maitri for Development', a network of organisations addressing women's issues across India. Maitri will be a platform for women working in NGOs to share their skills and experience through a mentoring programme.

Karunadeepa, an Indian Order Member & NGO worker who works for Jeevak (a Karuna project partner based in Pune) was at the conference. She says "For me seeing so many projects do such good work and making a difference to people's lives was a learning experience."

Leadership development - encouraging Dalit women to become leaders
Dalit women especially lack self-confidence and access to proper information. This means, for example, they're often unwilling to meet with government officials to claim their state entitlements. This is especially the case in North Indian states such as Bihar where Dalits live in extreme poverty.

In response to this, we're initiating a leadership development programme for Dalit women in Northern India. This network will give Dalit women a supportive platform to voice their concerns and share their issues. Through this we'll be able to identify other women-led NGOs to join the 'Maitri' network.

Mind Change - reaching out to young Dalit and Tribal people
Young people from 'low-caste' backgrounds in India rarely have the opportunity to become community leaders. They often feel they have limited opportunity to influence change.

We're changing this by reaching out to 3000 young Dalit and Tribal people through our partner, the National Network of Buddhist Youth (NNBY).

The NNBY organise programmes & events across India specifically for young people enabling them to come together in large numbers to discuss the issues concerning them.

Award winning work
Jeevak, a long-standing Karuna partner, recently won an award in recognition of many years work in the Dapodi slums of Pune. This was the starting place for Karuna's work in India over 30 years ago. Sadhu to the Jeevak team!

If you’d like to know more about our work in India, please visit

More than anything we rely on the generosity of Friends, Mitras and Order Members from The Triratna Buddhist Community who give their time to join 6-week door-to-door appeals or phone campaigns.

If you feel inspired by our work in India and would like a taste of fundraising as a spiritual practice we have plenty of opportunities. Click here for more information.

You can always call us on 0207 700 3434 or email

Warm Regards
The Karuna Team

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