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Who Are The Dalit People?

Sadly still in this day and age, across India and Hindu regions of Nepal, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka there is an entire population of ‘Dalits’ considered lower than animals and believed to have been born as ‘untouchables’ as a punishment for wrong doing in a previous life. For over 3000 years the ‘Dalits’ or ‘Untouchables’ have been positioned at the bottom of Indias’ society, subject to the most aggressive and dehumanising abuse. They are born into a culture that devalues them from birth with society considering them to be contaminated from the beginning of existence. This draws lines between communities, limiting one’s profession, potential marriage partner and level of education. The term ‘Dalit’ literally translates from Sanskrit to downtrodden or oppressed and still, there are around 200 million Dalits who are exposed to this injustice today.  “Never was a man treated as a mind, a glorious thing made up of stardust.” THE DALIT RIGHTS MOVEMENT Apartheid came to an end through a movement of people of many nations with one voice and one message – that apartheid is wrong. It will take a similar approach with the help of ordinary people and voices across nations. There is still much to be done, but we have to be encouraged by the positive movements. With the power of the people and human rights movements, awareness is rising and legislations are being made to help support the rights of the Dalit people, morally, politically, financially and spiritually. There is still a long way to go but with your support we have a bigger chance of granting freedom for the Dalit people strive for the day they will be untouchable no more. WHAT CAN BE DONE TO HELP? Education, this is the fundamental key for the children of the future. There are different organisations tackling a variety of areas including the National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights which is made up of four independent movements, each movement working on eradicating some form of caste-based discrimination. Another organisation is the Life Association, for 20 years they have been building schools, children’s accommodation and creating work opportunities amongst the Dalit communities.  One opportunity that arisen is the Dalit candles: These candle pots are handcrafted in the Dharavi slum of Mumbai. Your purchase supports the work of Life Association with the Dalit people of India and helps to provide a loving home and education for the orphans and vulnerable children in India.

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