This hostel opened as a response to the educational and social needs of disadvantaged boys from Dalit families. The hostel is situated in a village in the suburbs of Nagpur, a large industrial town in the north of Maharashtra.
The 41 hostel boys come from families of landless rural labourers or poor urban slum dwellers, all suffering from poverty. Many are from single families where adults have little or no education themselves and do not know how to support their children in school.
Parents work as bonded labourers on building sites or roads or they produce cash crops of sugar cane and oranges. They work long hours for low pay and they need their children to work to supplement the family income. Hostel wardens work with the local school to provide much needed study support and tuition so that students can achieve their educational potential and escape the cycle of poverty.
Karuna also funds self help groups for parents in these communities, where parents come together regularly to support each other and are given support to save money towards their children’s education. Two cooperative businesses have been started as a result of these groups.