We've moved!

This donation page is on the old Big Give website. Please go to theBigGive.org.uk to find current campaigns and opportunities to double your donation.

If you have any queries on the changes, please email us at info@thebiggive.org.uk.

Project information

Education Not Discrimination

Karuna Hostels provide a supportive environment for over 600 boys and girls from the most impoverished and disadvantaged communities in India. These children will be the first generation from their families to complete school, and break free from a future of illiteracy and unskilled manual labour.

April 2016 - March 2018

Charity information: Karuna Trust

Karuna Trust logo
  • Need


    Many Dalit children fail to complete schooling due to caste discrimination and poverty.

    Living in areas where there are no secondary schools, or with high levels of teacher absenteeism, Dalit children are much more likely to drop out of school. As a result they follow their parents into a life of poor literacy, unskilled manual labour and poverty.

    Without any support, these children remain trapped a cycle of caste based poverty and exploitation that has bound their community for generations.


    Karuna Hostels provide these children receive a safe nurturing environment where they are supported to pursue their education.

    The hostels have excellent relationships with local schools and work with the teachers to make sure the children are progressing.

    The children benefit from nutritious food and intensive study support, as well as encouragement, inspiration, and a range of extra-curricular activities.

    Here the children can enjoy a caste-free environment and unlock their potential.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Educational Support for over 600 Dalit Girls and Boys.


    » A hostel tutor will provide intensive study support to all the children resident in the hostel.
    » Study support, monitoring and supervision, including: a library with newspapers, study materials,and revision aids with practice exam papers.
    » Computer classes will mean that hostel children are equipped with the IT skills necessary to enter professional work environments.
    » Partnerships with local schools and educational authorities will ensure that the children will make the most of this opportunity to study.

    What success will look like

    This project will use hostel tests, school exam results and feedback from children and teachers, looking at this information against baseline surveys before the project commences.

    Aim 2

    Emotional and Physical Wellbeing of over 600 hostel children.


    » Nutritious food 3 times a day. This is something the children are seldom able to have in their own home environments.
    » Medical insurance and regular medical checks.
    » Physical education classes.
    » Workshops on topics such as hygiene and health.

    What success will look like

    Children will be regularly weighed, their medical information will be recorded and their own feedback taken over the project period. This will be compared to baseline surveys.

    Aim 3

    Personality Development and Leadership for over 600 hostel children.


    » Cultural and sporting events and competitions.
    » Exposure visits. Children who have never left their village or slum will enjoy day trips to places of natural beauty, museums, and other sites.
    » Hostel Parliaments allow the children the serve terms as 'ministers' in the hostel, to gather and share the views of the students in different areas.

    What success will look like

    Subjective indicators of children's confidence levels will be assessed against baseline surveys alongside the opinions of teachers, parents and hostel wardens.

    Aim 4

    Engagement with Parents of over 600 Dalit children.


    » Regular meetings with parents, and invitations to hostel events mean the parents feel included and see the value of education for their children.

    What success will look like

    Parents own opinions of the importance of the children's education, alongside their attendance and involvement in the hostel programmes will be compared to the baseline data.

    Aim 5

    Careers Development and Vocational Training for over 600 children.


    » Work placements ensure that children leave with practical knowledge of working environments and demonstrable experience.
    » Inspiration from hostel alumni. Previous hostel students are often amongst the most inspiring people for these children to meet.

    What success will look like

    Hostel children finding placements and work after leaving the hostel.

  • Impact


    In the long term the Karuna hostels help to raise entire communities out of poverty, through providing opportunities for completing education.

    This has been evidenced through alumni and we are currently compiling in-depth alumni surveys to show the differences in income and opportunity as a result of their hostel admission.

    Most importantly, children from this historically marginalised community leave as confident young adults who can lift their entire families out of poverty.


    There are two primary risks to the hostel projects next year.

    The first is drought. Most hostels exist in the recently drought prone states of western and central India.

    We are working with the hostels to encourage local fundraising for water, as well as use of rainwater harvesting techniques.

    The other issue is local government corruption meaning local grants are held back. This has been overcome through hostels showing local government officials the good work that they are doing.


    We will send the donors case studies of children from the hostels, with pictures and their own words.

    We will also report back on the indicators after the baseline surveys have been conducted.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £65,000

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £11,100 Educational Achievement Tutoring, Study materials, Building relationships with schools
      £27,500 Health and Wellbeing Food, Accomodation, Medical checks, Workshops
      £10,200 Parent and Child Development Child Parliament, Workshops, Parent Meetings and Workshops, Career Development
      £9,700 Monitoring and Trainis Monitoring and Evaluation, Capacity Building, Staff Training, Surveys
      £6,500 Administration Essential admin and cost recovery

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Local Fundraising by Hostels £52,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    Our projects take place in the cities and towns of Maharashtra, India such as Kolhapur, Ulhasnagar and Latur are easily accessible from nearby poor villages but where excellent schools are available.

    Though the wealth of Mumbai and Pune distorts figures, Maharashtra remains the state in India ranking third, after Bihar and Uttar Pradesh, as regards the population below the poverty line.

    The villages or urban slums that our Hostel children come from are emblematic of that poverty.


    The 600+ children that will benefit from this project come from families that have suffered generations of discrimination and exclusion. Their parents will be illiterate, unskilled labourers. Some come from single parent families, and some are orphans.

    In their home environments there will often not be enough food, homes will be crowded, and problems of alcoholism and domestic abuse are also common.

    Through completing their education, these children could participate fully in Indian society.

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    Karuna has been working to support Dalit communities for over 35 years, and has over 20 years of experience with these hostels. We have an expert team of Programme Managers who work with dedicated local staff. The hostel wardens and teams come from the same communities as the children and so understand very well the barriers they face.

    Karuna works not only to deliver essential services for these children, but also to help the projects become self-sufficient and

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Lizzie Guinness

    Lizzie is the Karuna Programme Manager overseeing the hostels. She spends three months of the year working closely in-country with the hostels.

    Nilesh Katkole

    Nilesh is one of our hostel wardens. They come from the same communities as the children, and work to support them daily in their new environment.


will pay for educational support for five children for one year.

I feel very good in the hostels because all wardens love me like a mother. I feel like all the other girls are like sisters to me. Here there is lots of learning methods and very good teaching and lots of running and I enjoy participating in everything.