India's Untouchable Dalits

Dalit Freedom Network Canada is committed to freeing the Dalits from a life of poverty, exploitation, and slavery through education, healthcare, and economic development.

  • Dalit Freedom Network has just opened a new vocational training center for women in Uttar Pradesh. It is situated in a poor rural community where we have already established a Good Shepherd School. Most of this people in this region are daily labourers, barely earning enough to survive. The new center will give women and girls the opportunity to learn practical tailoring skills. The classes will be offered in the evening so that women can attend after working in the fields. 

    Vocational training is one of the best ways to lift women and girls out of poverty and restore their dignity. Vahida, a student at the new center, shared with our staff that she has been waiting for such an opportunity for a long time. Her parents could not afford to send her to school so attending the center is the first time she has ever been in a classroom. Her dream is to start a small shop in the village. 

    We are thankful for the generous partners who helped make this life changing center possible. 

  • Millions Dalit children never imagine a life beyond the oppression they experience as society's outcasts. From birth they are told that they are second class citizens and less than human. By the time they reach seven or eight, these lies is so ingrained in their minds that they accept it as reality, never daring to dream of something better.  

    It doesn't have to be this way.

    Like you, we believe that every child should have the freedom to dream and the tools to make those dreams a reality. This is what our Good Shepherd Schools are all about. With the help of generous Canadians, our schools provide Dalit children with a quality English medium education that frees them from oppression and allows them to dream of a better future for themselves and their families. 

    Discover how you can help give a Dalit child education and the freedom to dream. 

  • “We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude.”

     Cynthia Ozick 

    Today is teachers day in India. We are so thankful for our dedicated and passionate teaching staff. They are the real heroes of the Dalit Freedom Network as they work tirelessly to bring freedom and education to Dalit children across India. 

    We want to honour and celebrate our teachers by sharing a glimpse into their daily life: 

    Runa, a Kindergarten teacher, had a comfortable life working in a well-paid teaching job. But she gave it up to become a teacher at one of our Good Shepherd Schools in a remote Dalit village that lacks electricity, paved roads, and even running water. She is known for bringing out the best in her students and her class is always buzzing with energy. Outside of school hours Runa can be found visiting the homes of her students and championing the importance of education. Her love, enthusiasm and unwavering commitment to this community is bringing true transformation.

  • It's hard to believe that in this day and age a practice like manual scavenging still exists. Yet across India there are Dalit communities that are still forced to clean out toilets and gutters of human excrement and carry to the outskirts of the village to be disposed. 

    Recently, Human Rights Watch released a report, Cleaning Human Waste 
    “Manual Scavenging,”
    Caste, and Discrimination in India, that highlights the horrific injustice and discrimination faced by modern day manual scavengers. Here are a few excerpts from the report that provide a glimpse into what life is like for Dalits trapped in manual scavenging: 

    I clean toilets in 20 houses every day. I use a tin plate and broom to remove the excrement that has collected in the toilet, I collect the excrement in a basket, and then I take it and throw it away. This work is so awful I don’t feel like eating. 
                             —Manisha, Uttar Pradesh, January 2014 

    They called our men and said “If you don’t start sending your women to 
    clean our toilets, we will beat them up. We will beat you up.” They said, 
    “We will not let you live in peace.” We were afraid.

                             - Gangashr, Uttar Pradesh 

    I studied till 8th standard, but here we don’t get any other job no matter where we go. I have tried. If I go to a hotel to find work, they ask my caste. Once I tell them I am Valmiki, they will only give me work cleaning the toilets. I want to do something else, I know this is discrimination, but what can I do?    

                           -  Bablu, Rajasthan, June, 2014

    We encourage you to learn more about the plight of modern day manual scavengers by taking the time to read the full Human Rights Watch Report

  • Every day there are stories in the news about the plight of the Dalits. These articles keep us aware of the struggles that Dalits face on a daily basis. Please click on the titles below to read recent articles.

    Educate girls to check trafficking: A former victim of trafficking shares that poverty and a lack of education made her vulnerable to human trafficking. 

    Dalit youth fighting for his life: Family members of an upper-caste girl set a Dalit boy on fire for allegedly having an affair with her. 

    13 bonded labourers rescued from brick kiln: Thirteen people, including three children, were rescued from a brick kiln. All of those rescued were from lower-caste and Dalit backgrounds. 

    India lack of toilets increase rape attacks on women: This short video from BBC News highlights the danger that women and girls in India face when going to the bathroom. 

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