Dear Friends,

As COVID-19 continues to spread, the future has never felt so uncertain. These are challenging times for all of us; we all have limitations and major hurdles to overcome. But this is certainly little compared to the situation in India and Nepal. Both countries have entered a complete lockdown until mid-April for the time being, which in some cases might be subject to extension. This means that the poorest, who depend on subsistence income or day labour jobs, have nothing to live on at all. Although the Indian government has committed itself to providing for its people, we know that the Dalits and tribal communities are always among the last to receive help in times of crisis. The health system is hardly robust, at least not for the poor, and “social distancing” in the slums is only a pious hope. In addition to these challenges, media reports are rife with armies of migrant workers who now wander the country on foot to get home.

For our projects, this means that all normal activities have come to a halt. Instead, many project partners are providing the migrants workers with food and other essential supplies. They have spontaneously responded to this dynamic situation in order to provide the bare essentials and help people need to survive this crisis. All children in the hostels have been sent home and schools have been closed. Some hostels have even been requisitioned by the government to set up corona hospitals.

In Nepal, poverty and lack of doctors could prove catastrophic, despite the low COVID-19 case numbers so far. With the return of migrant workers from India and the Gulf, there is a growing concern regarding upcoming infections in Nepal. For weeks, our project partners have been using the group meetings in the self-help groups, mothers’ groups and child clubs in the schools to provide intensive education regarding hygiene and corona virus. Soap and hand disinfectants were also distributed.

Together with Karuna Trust we want to support the emergency efforts of our partner organisations. The discriminated communities in India and Nepal need us now more than ever as they will be hit hardest by the pandemic. If you would like to contribute, please donate with the keyword “COVID-19”. Thank you for your support. Here, you can access our coronavirus crisis appeal in detail.

Please help us with this and donate now!

Thank you and keep well!

Susanne Traud-Dubois
Chairwoman Karuna Deutschland e.V.

 


 

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Karuna Deutschland e.V. works in India and Nepal, where millions of people suffer from grinding poverty and oppression, often excluded from the region’s economic boom.

Those who are most affected are known as Dalits, literally meaning “broken people”. They  are placed at the bottom of the hierarchical caste system which is pre-determined by birth. They are forced to do the most degrading and humiliating work, such as cleaning toilet pits of whole villages or clearing away carcasses. Thus they are considered “impure” and therefore “untouchable”.

Dalit children and women are particularly at risk. Women face double discrimination due to their gender and caste, with some being taken out of school at an early age to be sold into marriage. Some are forced into the drudgery of household services thus undermining their freedom and independence. 

We support people to help themselves. Hence we work together with partner organisations in India and Nepal. They are familiar with the local context and are trusted by the people. Our projects empower people to take control of their lives as well as improve their living conditions with regard to education, self determination and healthcare.

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