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karuna faqs

This page should cover any questions you have about Karuna but if not then get in touch.

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Why should I donate to projects in South Asia?

Despite the huge economic strides made by South Asia in recent decades, discrimination, poverty and inequality remains widespread – with almost one third of the world’s poorest living there.

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Since Karuna’s work focuses on some of the most marginalised and hard-to-reach groups, it is crucial our projects continue to receive support. Moreover, since we work alongside grassroot and community-led organisations, our work can focus on sustainability and self-reliance – not handouts.

Looking forward, climate change is expected to have a significant impact on this region, with rising temperatures and changing weather patterns leading to more frequent and intense natural disasters such as floods and droughts. We work alongside communities who have been hit the hardest, to build climate resilience and support those who have been impacted directly. Displacement due to severe weather conditions leads to an increase in the trafficking of girls and women and the exploitation of migrant workers, who must move across states to access employment.


In the financial year 2022-23 we were able to directly help 130,000 people in South Asia.

How do you select your projects and partners in India?

Karuna has an established due diligence process for selecting new projects and partners. All projects are visited and regularly assessed by our programmes team to see their work, establish they have defined financial structures and ensure they are registered with both the Foreign Contributions Regulatory Association and Indian Charity Commission. New projects and partners are approved by the Karuna trustees taking into account whether their aims and objectives fit with Karuna’s strategic aims.

Where do you work?

In 2022-23 we worked alongside 39 partner organisations in South Asia, funding 35 projects, in 11 states of India, 7 districts in Nepal and 2 districts in Bangladesh. 

Can you fund my project?

Karuna does not invite or consider unsolicited applications for funding.

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Can I visit or volunteer for your projects overseas?

Karuna does not organise or host project visits. This is due to safeguarding responsibilities and partner capacity. Most of our partners are small community based organisations who do not have established volunteering programmes. They do not have time and resources to host visitors.

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Do you convert people to Buddhism?

Karuna does not convert people to Buddhism. We work with organisations who identify as Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Tribal or prefer to have no designation at all.

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What is Karuna’s commitment to Safeguarding?

Karuna is committed to protecting children, young people and vulnerable adults from all forms of physical or psychological violence, injury or abuse, neglect, maltreatment, exploitation and sexual abuse.

To find out more about our commitment to safeguarding click here.

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What does Karuna do about corruption?

Karuna has an anti-corruption policy to ensure grants paid by Karuna are only used for proper purposes. Grant payments are paid directly to partner bank accounts to ensure funds are received directly by the projects. Any NGO in India who is licensed to receive foreign funding must adhere to strict criteria laid down by the Indian Government. As such, these organisation, including all of our partners must maintain the highest possible standards of financial management otherwise they will lose their permission to receive money from abroad All Karuna projects submit a 6-monthly progress report, periodic in depth evaluations, as well as annual audited statements of expenditure. These reports are reviewed by Karuna programme managers.

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Karuna means “compassion” in Sanskrit. It evokes an active form of compassion based on wisdom rather than pity or sadness.

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What is Karuna’s connection to Buddhism?

Karuna was originally founded by Triratna Buddhists over 40 years ago. This legacy continues in the form of our trustees being members of the Triratna Buddhist Order with a vision to overcome discrimination and inequality.

While the trustees of Karuna are members of Triratna, many of the employees are not, nor are the majority of our partners or beneficiaries. We fund in-country partners, who come from a range of religious backgrounds and whom we have selected because they serve communities who are severely affected by poverty and discrimination. As such, we work with organisations who identify as Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, Hindu, Tribal or prefer to have no designation at all.

We do fund a small number of explicitly Buddhist projects and we ask our supporters at the time of sign up whether they are happy for a portion of their gift to go towards these projects (less than 5% of these total opted-in donations go towards projects of this kind). These projects are Bhaja and Bordharan retreat centres, which offer free and low-cost retreats to people of any persuasion from the surrounding slum areas of Mumbai and Pune.

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Whilst our Buddhist values and background are important to our identity and organisational values, our purpose as an organisation is to work alongside the most excluded people in South Asia, overcoming discrimination with locally-led education, gender equality, and sustainable livelihood projects.

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Donation FAQs

Someone from Karuna knocked on my door, but I don’t want to give my account details. Can I still make a donation?

Yes of course. Please contact our Supporter Care team, on 0207 700 3434 or email

Can you claim gift aid on my donation?

Yes of course! Gift Aid means your donation will go even further overseas because we can claim an additional 25% from the government on top of your donation.

How can I fundraise for Karuna?

Thank you for wanting to support our work. There are many ways you can fundraise for us from ‘give as you earn’ schemes at work, running a marathon, sponsored bike rides or fun events. If you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, take our look at our online fundraising page. You can also contact our supporter care team, on 0207 700 3434 or email and request a fundraising pack which is full of ideas! 

Can I make changes to my donation?

Yes of course. Having a Direct Debit is a really easy way of administering your donation. Any time you want to make changes you can get in touch with our supporter care team, on 0207 700 3434 or email

How can I cancel my donation?

We’re sorry to hear you’re thinking of cancelling. You can of course adjust your donation to any amount that might be more amenable. If you’re still thinking of cancelling, please contact our supporter care team on 0207 700 3434 or email

How do I leave a gift in my will?

In order to leave a gift to Karuna, you just need to note our name and charity number (327461) in your will and the amount you would like to leave. You can also call Patrick for more information on 0207 700 3434. Please do consider leaving a gift in your will. All the legacies we receive, including modest amounts, will contribute to making a lasting change in the lives of those we work with.

Can I donate money to a specific project?

If there’s a specific Karuna project you feel inspired by, please get in touch with our supporter care team, on 0207 700 3434 – or email

Can I sponsor a child through Karuna?

Whilst we don’t offer individual child sponsorship, you might like to know that in 2020-23 we supported 15,000 girls per year from marginalised communities to stay in school. 

How do I know my personal information will be kept safe?

We appreciate the trust you have shown in us by providing your personal information. We take the protection of our supporters’ personal information very seriously. You can read our privacy policy.

I have more questions, who can I speak to?

Please get in touch with our supporter care team, at 0207 700 3434 – or email

All other contact details can be found on our contact page. 

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Karuna's Finances

What are Karuna’s sources of income?

Approximately 68.5% of our income is from individuals, most of whom learnt about Karuna through our Door to Door fundraising. Approximately 27.5% is from charitable trusts and institutions. We also receive gifts from wills.

How much do you spend on fundraising?

In the financial year 2022-23 Karuna’s expenditure on fundraising, growing and maintaining the income was 16%. 

How much do you spend on governance?

In the financial year 0f 2022-23 we spent 2% on Governance. For example, this includes the cost of our annual independent audit, legal fees, trustee training etc.  

How much do you spend on Projects?

In the financial year 0f 2022-23 Karuna invested in £2,028,199 in programme delivery. It is 72% of our income. 

How much do people at Karuna get paid?

Generosity and simplicity are at the heart of our Buddhist values. Our average salary for staff is £28,655 gross. All Karuna staff work to principles of simplicity, at Karuna that policy is for each person to be paid the same regardless of seniority. Managers don’t necessarily get paid more than other staff and this includes our CEO! 

For more details on any of these questions please visit our Financials page.

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How to make a complaint or give feedback

We do our best at Karuna to provide good levels of service and to interact positively with members of the public. However, if you are not happy with any aspect of our work or a member of the team – please get in contact and let us know.

In the first instance, our Supporter Care team. They can be contacted directly on 0207 700 3434 between 10am and 5.30pm or by email:

You can also write to him: Karuna, 72 Holloway Road, London, N7 8JG

Please give a clear description of your complaint and what you would like us to do to sort things out, and include your contact details so we can get in touch with you.

There may be a straightforward explanation which we hope will satisfy your query, or it may well be there is some aspect of our performance where there is room for improvement. We are committed to listening to your feedback, and dealing with your complaint in a timely and efficient manner. Equally, we also welcome compliments on what we do.

If we receive a compliment we will pass this on to the person/s concerned. It means a great deal to our team to be acknowledged for their hard work and commitment.

If your complaint relates to the handling of funds or charity governance, please contact The Charity Commission.

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Next steps

We will aim to resolve your complaint as quickly as possible. Our intention is to acknowledge your complaint within 48 hours. We will aim to investigate your complaint within 7 working days. If we can’t meet this deadline, we will get in contact, explain why and give you an alternative date.

If you are not satisfied with our response

Following the above, if you are not satisfied with our response and the outcome, please contact the Charity Commision.

Thank you.

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How can I contact Karuna?

Please get in touch with our supporter care team, on 0207 700 3434 – or email:

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