Karuna Germany works in India and Nepal, where hundreds of millions of people suffer lives of grinding poverty and oppression, excluded from the region’s economic boom.

The caste system is an ancient form of discrimination that denies people their basic rights and keeps millions trapped in conditions of modern-day slavery.

Those most affected are known as Dalits, literally meaning “broken people”, who are placed outside the caste system on the basis of birth. Considered “impure”, and therefore “untouchable”, they are seen as fit only for the most degrading and humiliating work, such as cleaning out public toilet pits or working in toxic brick-making factories.

Despite the illegality of this so-called “untouchability”, over 200 million people in India and Nepal still suffer the social exclusion and stigma of being born as a Dalit. They are routinely denied access to education, food and the possibility of a dignified existence. Many more are rejected care at hospitals, refused protection by police, all while regular atrocities committed against them are ignored.

Dalit children and women are particularly at risk. More than half of Dalit children drop out before finishing primary school, while women suffer the double discrimination of gender and caste, with most being taken out of school early to be sold into marriage and household service at the cost of their own independence.

This epidemic of exclusion based on caste has existed for centuries. It serves only to widen the ever-growing poverty gap and social and economic progress of millions in South Asia.

Karuna works with community based organisations that are helping thousands of people to escape the hell of poverty and discrimination and take their rightful place in society.

We cooperate closely with the Karuna Trust, London.

Our projects in India

Maitri Network: effectively combating violence against women in India

16 organisations support women who have suffered violence. They train representatives of the police and judiciary to sensitize them to the needs of traumatized women.

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Girls in need of protection live safely

The Solera residence in Amravati is home to 36 girls from the most difficult family situations who receive loving support for their personal and school development.

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Yashodhara School Dormitory for nomadic children

Children of the Pardhi nomads live safe here and go to school regularly. They are supported in growing up healthy and in developing their potential.

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Self-defence and self-confidence

Training for girls and young women in and around Nagpur. Girls develop technique and self-confidence and learn to defend themselves against assaults.

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Decent work for women

Women in eight slums in Nagpur learn professional skills that enable them to earn a fair living. This means that their children can continue to go to school.

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School for Tibetan refugee children in Kalimpong

Tibetan refugee children receive a sound education and at the same time maintain contact with their cultural roots.

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Voice of women

Our aim is for Dalit and Adivasi women who have been victims of violence so that they can defend themselves and take legal action.

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