You can also download the original print version: Karuna 2012 (PDF)
India was ranked as the fourth most dangerous place for women by the TrustLawSurvey 2011, due to trafficking, dowry deaths, female infanticide, and domestic violence.
A far cry, you might think, from the modern perception of India in which women now work as engineers and police officers, and are increasingly found in state parliaments and other areas of public life. This clearly doesn't tell the whole story.
In the 'ex-touchable' communities Karuna supports, Dalit women suffer discrimination not only as a result of caste but also because of their gender. Caste-based tradition, which is perpetuated by the majority of Indian society, generally places a lower value on girls and women. This leads to, among many issues, high drop-out rates for girls from school, widows seen as a burden, and the abortion of female foetuses.
At root it is a mind-set.
Women's empowerment is one of the Millenium Development Goals and is considered a crucial step in reducing poverty, and establishing good governance and sustainable livelihoods. Words and ideas have power, but they need to find expression in practice.
A central pillar of our work in India is helping girls and women to develop confidence and leadership skills, so they can break free from their caste background, and help their communities emerge from economic and social stagnation. Our partners also work to change the views of both men and women about the value and position of women.
Some of the women feature in this Newsletter - such as Sanjivani, whose fight for one acre of land changed her life, and girls such as Susimita and Priyanka, who campaign to keep their peers in school - have found their voices. They are not going to be silenced by prejudice, discrimination or their own fears.
Only with your generosity can we help these, and many more, Indian girls and women to reshape their lives and shake off the burdens of the past.
Thank you for your continuing support.