Inspired by Buddhist values, we exist to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal.
Our work with individuals focuses on education, dignified livelihoods and gender equality, transforming communities and changing society.
Since 1980, Karuna and its supporters have enabled people to overcome caste-based discrimination, finally gaining their own dignity and realising their potential as human beings. Based in the UK, we work with partners towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of eliminating inequality, ensuring access to humane and decent work and basic education for all – with no-one left behind.
All of this is only possible because of the generosity of Karuna supporters and the fundraisers that inspired them.
Historically denied education and with high drop-out rates, education is crucial to Karuna’s work with Dalits. We work holistically with schools, parents and children with a focus on non-formal education, providing support structures to enable disadvantaged children to take full advantage of the mainstream school system. Karuna ensures that Dalit and marginalised children are informed about their rights and can develop a sense of agency – becoming positive role models for one another and the change-makers for the next generation, taking their futures into their own hands.
Karuna supports Dalit and marginalised people to break out of degrading, caste-based occupations that get passed down from generation to generation. Our work first helps people form a different vision for themselves, then develops that vision into reality through vocational and skills training. Building networks and fostering an enabling environment, together we can create a shift in mindset that supports dignified, caste-free livelihoods benefiting everyone, while inspiring others to do the same.
Dalit women often face the “double discrimination” of both caste and gender. Karuna’s work challenges these traditional caste-based gender attitudes so that women from marginalised backgrounds are valued equally and can enjoy equal access to the full range of rights and opportunities needed to realise their potential. Leadships and skills training helps women become leaders in their communities, asserting their own choices and needs and empowering change in others. Likewise, we work with groups of men, encouraging them to become active agents for gender equality.