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Manju and Lawrence lead the Agnes Kunze Society to bring improved living standards and opportunity among slum communities in India.
Through education, skills training and healthcare, Manju and Lawrence are seeing children and their families become physically and emotionally stronger, and equipped to start working their way out of crippling poverty.
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Manju and Lawrence are giving their skills, experience and passion in service of slum communities in Dehradun, northern India. Through a holistic programme of community development they are seeing the poorest of the poor empowered to survive and thrive.
Manju has been working with the urban poor for more than 11 years, while Lawrence served in the merchant navy before joining his wife full-time in her work. They live in Dehradun and have one child.
Although India’s economy has experienced much growth in recent years, many still live in poverty. Hundreds of thousands live in slums, in squalid and overcrowded conditions.
Schools and opportunities for learning are scarce meaning children have little or no access to education. With poverty rife, many children work to bolster the family income, for example picking through unsafe rubbish dumps looking for items to sell on.
Due to poverty and lack of education, ill-health and diseases such as HIV are common. Yet healthcare is scant and many struggle to get the treatment and advice they need.
To bring hope and empowerment to the children and families of Dehradun, Manju and Lawrence lead the Agnes Kunze Society.
Manju and Lawrence believe strongly that people should be empowered to bring about change themselves, therefore education is a priority. They have opened a school with room for 600 children. They also offer income-generating skills training for teenagers and adults.
To improve health, the Society helps communities build hygienic latrines and improve sewerage systems. Manju and Lawrence also oversee an incredible healthcare programme which offers a wide range of services including care for new mothers, advice for drug and alcohol addicts and TB testing.
Manju, Lawrence and their team also support people living with HIV, helping break down stigma and leading the area's first comprehensive HIV care network.