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The stories below are from people we work with to create lasting change.

Anusaya is sixty-five, and has been widowed for eleven years. She moved with her husband, two daughters and a son (who died of alcohol-related problems) to the Dehu Road cantonment in 1972 when a drought forced them to migrate into the city.

Krishna is forty, but looks older after years of hard physical work. He is a field labourer close to the Karuna-funded ‘Bhaja Rural Retreat Centre’, where his wife Nanda is the cook.

Despite Santosh’s achievements he has been branded a ‘criminal’ from birth. His caste designation is ‘Ramoshi’ – a nomadic tribe officially labelled as criminal in 1871.

Suman, 41, recalls how as a child the Takare community was considered so polluted, that to touch them brought shame upon other villages. From a young age Suman resisted this: “I always tried to fight against this inhuman system.”

When Vinay walks to Bhaja from the train, listening to the birds singing and the trees rustling in the breeze, he feels he is moving from darkness into light.

Anita Naskar is a remarkable woman. A Nishtha women’s group leader, her colleagues describe her as ‘strong, fearless and dynamic’.

Satish has been attending the Open School in Amravati for a year, and is learning to improve his Marathi and English language skills. He also enjoys having time to play. He had previously dropped out of mainstream school because he was being bullied.

India is a country where so many things go wrong. I want to sort out problems in society. I want to defend women. Please wish me well and help me finish my education so I can become a police officer.

Dentistry is an intimate profession, requiring a dentist to have the closest physical contact with his or her patients.

Jana Bhaydade sits in her small, one-room hut, surrounded by packets of herbs and spices that she sells wholesale across Pune.

I saw a spark in Sanjivani - that's why we chose her. She was looking after her family alone. Not everyone has this potential. We need more Sanjivanis in society.

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