Karuna means “compassion in action”

Why do a Karuna Appeal?

Inspired by Buddhist values, Karuna exists to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal. Our work focuses on education, dignified livelihoods and gender equality, transforming communities and changing society. Karuna’s unique fundraising approach is motivated by Buddhist ethics. We do not pressure people into giving. Instead, we give time and space to people so that they can make a considered, conscious choice to support Karuna’s work.

By practicing patience and compassion, our volunteers recruit new supporters to join Karuna’s work.They fundraise in a UK town or city for six weeks, living in shared accomodation, eating and meditating together five days a week. This makes Karuna appeals an opportunity to do something for others as well as with others, deepening one’s spiritual practice within the context of a supportive and like-minded community. The result is a truly transformative experience for both, the benefit of which is passed on to thousands of people in India and Nepal.


Get Involved

6 week urban fundraising retreats
Door-to-Door Appeals
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6 week Team Based Right Livelihood experience
Telephone Appeals
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Why are Karuna appeals such effective spiritual practice? Because you are doing something for others.

— URGYEN SANGHARAKSHITA

Transforming self transforming world
Fundraising as Spiritual Practice

A Karuna Appeal has a daily programme similar to being on retreat, but with the added key element of knocking on doors and meeting new people each evening! The resulting intensity can support a dramatic deepening of spiritual practice.


Why it Works

When we knock on a door, we don’t know who will answer. 

Our ability to respond appropriately and skilfully to each person that we encounter on the doorstep or telephone depends on being open, positive and present - despite not knowing what happens next. Fundraising in this way reflects an existential truth: that we never really know what will happen next. 

Usually, when faced with this unknown, we preempt the future and follow our habitual roads and expectations. We imagine they will reject us, or that they will have a negative view of us, sometimes before they even answer the door. This can mean that we miss the person, not truly connecting with them but with some idea of who we think they are instead. 

Fundraising for Karuna means opening up to this uncertainty; learning to stand in the gap between the impact the world has on us and our response to it. This is not easy, but it is possible - and it can be incredibly satisfying and enlivening.

 

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What Our Fundraisers Say

VAJRAGUPTA

“I can honestly say that doing this appeal is one of the best things I’ve done in my life in terms of intensive dharma practice and being able to do something for other people. I'm very grateful for having had the opportunity and fantastic training and support we've had. The community has also been brilliant!" 

AKASAJYOTI

“What I loved most about being on a Karuna appeal was living intensely as a community with a unified purpose, contained within a mythic, ritual context, where all our activity, communication, and dharma practice was explicitly dedicated to a vision of something beyond ourselves and offered up for the benefit of others. It had a taste of magic.”

PRAJNAKETU

"Doing an appeal has opened my eyes – and my heart – to the heroic work done by Karuna’s partners in India and Nepal. As a Buddhist I want to be of benefit to the world. Coming away from the appeal, I have such a clear sense that I can help, and that I am helping, by making these amazing projects possible."

What Our Supporters Say

Emma

“It was very interesting learning about the charity and I appreciated the informed, un-pushy approach and the fundraiser very obviously believed in the charity.”

Patrick

“Lots of other charities come to the door but I liked when you came because I was able to ask questions.  Your approach caught my attention because it seemed more direct and the information that you send connects me with what's happening in India and what you as an organisation are doing.  Karuna has a very human approach to a set of human problems and I think you are practicing what you preach.  It matters to me.”

Peter

“This is my first charitable donation by direct debit and I'm not sure why I did it.  After talking with the fundraiser and looking at the book it seemed like the right thing to do.  I didn't feel under any pressure, I can see it's a good cause and long may it continue.”


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For ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for freedom. It is a battle for the reclamation of the human personality.

— DR. B. R. AMBEDKAR

Our Appeals Team
Real World Results

Naga Carya

TEAM TOTAL: £ 18,840

SUPPORTERS CONNECTED: 92

Five men responded to alleviate suffering in India and Nepal by committing to raise money to support most deprived people in the world. The team bond was solid and their fearless effort to knocking doors day by day was admirable.

Women and Non-Binary Courageous Heart.

Team Total: £ 20,040

Supporters Connected: 105

The community living was the highlight on this appeal, cooking for each other, eating together, meditating together sharing all ups and downs in the same boat. The act of living together with altruistic purpose is powerful and transformative!

 

The Laughing Ninjas of Fire.” 

TEAM TOTAL: £ 18,468

SUPPORTERS CONNECTED: 84

The fact that we were all engaged in the same intensive task made for a united and supportive community. The door knocking was in equal measure challenging, interesting and rewarding. It wasn't easy, but we met some wonderful people and we were inspired by peoples' friendliness and generosity. It was a joy to connect with so many people.


Karuna Appeals Hall of Fame

TOTAL = £14,460

Abhaya Dara

TOTAL = £17,628

The Shining Hearts

TOTAL = £16,956

Tejakula

TOTAL = £17,592

Viryahri

TOTAL = £23,820

The Laughing Lotuses

TOTAL = £21,684

Bandhutva

APPEALS WITH PURPOSE

Inspired by Buddhist values, we exist to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal.

Inspired by Buddhist values, we exist to end caste-based discrimination, poverty and inequality in India and Nepal.

Our work with individuals focuses on education, dignified livelihoods and gender equality, transforming communities and changing society.  

Since 1980, Karuna and its supporters have enabled people to overcome caste-based discrimination, finally gaining their own dignity and realising their potential as human beings. Based in the UK, we work with partners towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals of eliminating inequality, ensuring access to humane and decent work and basic education for all - with no-one left behind.

All of this is only possible because of the generosity of Karuna supporters and the fundraisers that inspired them. 

 

Visit Karuna Site


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Triumph over prejudice and ignorance is a triumph for us all.

— DAME JUDI DENCH, PATRON


Our Three Themes

EDUCATION

Historically denied education and with high drop-out rates, education is crucial to Karuna’s work with Dalits. We work holistically with schools, parents and children with a focus on non-formal education, providing support structures to enable disadvantaged children to take full advantage of the mainstream school system. Karuna ensures that Dalit and marginalised children are informed about their rights and can develop a sense of agency - becoming positive role models for one another and the change-makers for the next generation, taking their futures into their own hands.

DIGNIFIED LIVELIHOOD

Karuna supports Dalit and marginalised people to break out of degrading, caste-based occupations that get passed down from generation to generation. Our work first helps people form a different vision for themselves, then develops that vision into reality through vocational and skills training. Building networks and fostering an enabling environment, together we can create a shift in mindset that supports dignified, caste-free livelihoods benefiting everyone, while inspiring others to do the same.

GENDER EQUALITY

Dalit women often face the “double discrimination” of both caste and gender. Karuna's work challenges these traditional caste-based gender attitudes so that women from marginalised backgrounds are valued equally and can enjoy equal access to the full range of rights and opportunities needed to realise their potential. Leadships and skills training helps women become leaders in their communities, asserting their own choices and needs and empowering change in others. Likewise, we work with groups of men, encouraging them to become active agents for gender equality.


HOW WE’RE CREATING CHANGE

When an individual’s life changes, they can change their community. When a community changes, they can change society.

 

96%

96% of children in Karuna projects continue their education past the age of 14, almost double the national average.

12m

12 million children are married before the age of 10 in India

3m

3 million girls are out of school in India

10,195

10,195 boys and young men were involved in gender awareness activities

 

128%

Karuna livelihoods projects increased incomes by an average of 128% (from £20 to £45 per month)

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