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She says: “It is very hard to sleep at night. I have to walk a long way to the public toilets, but they are often locked. They are not safe places anyway. I am scared because there is so much violence on the street. When my mother was alive, I felt safer. But now it’s up to me to try and look after my two younger sisters.”
* name changed
Extremely challenging: Priya in front of where she lives on the pavement. The street she lives on was recently dug up, exposing an open sewer.
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Despite her extremely challenging living conditions, Priya finds hope and kindness from our long-term partner, Karunalaya, who has supported Priya since she was 12. They encouraged her parents to keep her in school when many other girls became child brides. In addition, they provided extra tutoring to support her education, as well as practical help with books and uniforms.
Priya started to attend Karunalaya’s activity camps, being coached in football and other sports. These camps give young people a break from their lives on the streets so they can recognise their strengths and resilience and start to develop hopes for the future.
Paul Sunder-Singh, director and founder of Karunalaya, says: “Playing sport is a big taboo for girls — many communities think that the place for girls is in the home. But it’s a mystery to me why families think girls should stay indoors when so much abuse occurs in the home.”
Priya continues to show incredible resilience with the support of Karunalaya. She is still living on the streets but has started a BA degree in history whilst caring for her two younger sisters. Karunalaya and Priya are now working together to support her sisters as they move into their sheltered accommodation and find a safer place to live. They hope to be involved in the Street Child Cricket World Cup in 2023 and have been practising hard to hone their cricket skills.
Priya says: “We want to use this opportunity to show our talents in sport and to speak out against the discrimination and violence we’ve experienced. Everyone is against us because we come from pavement-dwelling communities, but that needs to change.”
Domestic and gender-based violence is a daily occurrence for women and girls from Chennai’s pavement-dwelling communities. Many desperate parents choose child marriage to keep their daughters safe.
Our partner Karunalaya wants to show that there can be an alternative. They do this in the following ways:
Help us hit gender-based violence for six!
Street Child Cricket World Cup 2023
India is hosting the Street Child Cricket World Cup in 2023 and Karunalaya are reigning champions. This will give them a huge international, national and local platform to showcase the potential of the girls and young women they support. It will also help Karunalaya to raise awareness of gender-based violence and the steps needed to stop it, as well as equipping girls and young women to live the lives they dream of.
Top: The open sewer in front of Priya’s ‘home’ on the pavement
Middle: Katie and Karin from Amos Trust talk to Priya with two of the Karunalaya team
Bottom: Priya practising her cricket skills with friends as Karunalaya look towards the Street Child Cricket World Cup in 2023
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We work alongside grass-roots partners in Palestine, South Africa, Nicaragua, Burundi, India and Tanzania.
Reaching children on the streets, addressing their trauma, working with them and their families to reintegrate them into their homes, to realise their rights and recover their future.
Working with local and international peace activists, and partnering with grass-roots projects, to call for a just peace, reconciliation and full equal rights for all Palestinians and Israelis.
Addressing the impact of climate change and the causes of extreme poverty, building sustainable rural communities and empowering them to realise their rights.
Bringing people together to meet our partners from around the world, visiting the communities they work in and seeing their projects in action — building solidarity and lasting friendships.