“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.”
— Margaret Mead
The idea of an organization such as Karuna International germinated at a meeting of the International Vegetarian Union at Chennai in 1995. President Sri Surendra Mehta expressed deep concern over the increasing aggression and unhealthy life style in youngsters. His statement triggered a discussion amongst all present. Sri Dulichand Jain was the Convenor of this meeting. The discussion inspired him to do active work with youngsters to make them compassionate citizens. With this vision and keen foresight, he founded Karuna International with a team of like-minded people.
Realising that the revival of values and rejuvenation of our natural resources requires deep behavioural changes, the group decided to take steps to create awareness, build the right attitude, and instil the values of compassion and kindness during the formative years for a lasting impact. After many discussions with educationists, principals and teachers, the goal became clearer: To transform youngsters into Karuna Champions: to imbue compassion in their approach to all living things and also to bring about an enduring transformation in their surroundings! The ideal way to do this was to work with schools by establishing a Karuna Club as one of the extracurricular activities in each school.
The first seed was sown on 1 April 1995 with just 3 schools in Chennai where Karuna Clubs were started. Within a year, 17 Karuna Clubs were started in Chennai and Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh, and by 1996, there were over a 100 Karuna Clubs.
Activists such as Mrs. Maneka Gandhi and Dr. Nemichand Jain have greatly supported this endeavour. Over time, an 18-point Programme evolved at Karuna Clubs which is activity-oriented and child-friendly.
The activities of Karuna Clubs are guided and co-ordinated by centres known as Karuna Kendras. As on 2021, there are XXX Kendras functioning in 12 states of India. More than 800 activists are working to motivate students and organize Karuna Club Programmes in around 2250 institutions (Schools and colleges). Every academic year, we see an increase in the number of Karuna Clubs in the country.