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Our History

The Karunya Trust Children's Home was established on 6th February 1992 in Tiruvannamalai, 180 kilometres south west of Chennai (formerly Madras) in South India. The district is an agricultural area and relatively underdeveloped. Many of the people in and around Tiruvannamalai are illiterate and very poor.

The founders of the Children's Home are an Indian man named Kumaran Murugesapillai, native to Tiruvannamalai, and his Australian wife Sharyn Kumaran. Both have a passionate desire to help needy children in and around Tiruvannamalai. Initially they rented a large house for 15 boys, themselves and the boys' tutor. Establishment costs were funded from Sharyn and Kumaran's personal savings. Their vision for the Home inspired friends in Australia and Germany to raise money to meet their day-to-day expenses.

In 1995 a group of friends in Germany raised the money to purchase 10 acres of land about ten kilometres out of the township to build the first house for the children. Within a year, the number of children at the Home increased to 20. In 1998 a second house was built on the property and the Home was able to accommodate another 20 children. There are now 34 children living at the Home (26 boys and 17 girls) aged between four and 18 years.

Karunya Staff

The work of Karunya reflects the belief in the importance of life-long learning in overcoming disadvantage. Opportunities for learning commence when the children arrive at the home aged four or five, and continue until they finish secondary school, or go on to further education.

Karunya employs four full-time teachers, two of which educate the four and five year olds (kindergarten level) on site at the Karunya home. After school tutoring is provided to the six to eighteen year olds and covers numeracy, literacy and the sciences.

There are four staff that work in the kitchen and do the cleaning, washing and ironing, whilst a driver ensures the children are transported safely in the Karunya bus to and from school.

Structure of The Karunya Trust

Karunya Trust is a charitable Trust registered under the India Trust Act. The trust is also registered with the Government of India under the Foreign Contribution Regulations Act which permits Karunya to accept foreign contributions. The income of the Trust is exempt from tax under section 12A of the Indian Income Tax Act.

Four directors administer the Trust: Kumaran Murugesapillai, Sharyn Kumaran, Gnanam Mannupillai and Jayabalan Murugesapillai. The administrators are all natives of Tiruvannamalai, and are leaders in business and the community. They have an in-depth understanding of the cycle of poverty and a deep commitment to promoting social justice. They bring a profound energy, vision and “great compassion” to their work to free children from poverty.

Sharyn and Kumaran manage the day-to-day running of the Children's Home. A variety of people around the world donate money to the Home to cover the costs of feeding, educating and housing the 34 children. Kumaran also works in a full-time job that provides an income for himself, Sharyn and their two children, Ramani and Lavanya. Kumaran and Sharyn do not receive any financial compensation for managing or running the Home. All monies received by the Karunya Trust are used to support the children and the running of the home.

Costs incurred for administrating the organization in Australia are met via the generous financial assistance of a handful of long-term supporters. This means that all revenue generated in Australia goes directly to supporting the Trust in India

"we have a passionate desire to help needy children"