Despite India’s emergence as an economic power on the global stage, the contrast between rich and poor is profound. According to a study published in 2016Citation, India is the second most unequal country in the world, with just 1% of the population owning over 50% of the total wealth. Very little international aid funding or corporate funding trickles down to marginalised communities in India.
What are the challenges?
Grinding poverty and illiteracy. In the slums of Kolkata and Mumbai over one third of parents cannot feed their families adequately. Home is a makeshift shack or lean-to hovel. Wages are very low and unemployment is high. Life is tough for everyone here, but there are extra challenges for Dalits – families from the lowest caste, formerly known as ‘untouchables’.. Although the ancient caste system has officially been abolished, there are still high levels of discrimination and prejudice against Dalits, in all settings including education.
How is Global Care helping Dalit children?
In the Patripul slum, home to 30,000 people including around 15,000 children, our partners run the GCare Centre – a care centre and informal pre-school for 80 children of Dalit heritage. In 2015 a second centre opened, supporting a further 40 children, all from the Dalit community.
They study English, Hindi, Marathi and Maths, in either morning or afternoon sessions. This offers academic support to those already in school, and encourages children who have dropped out of school back into education. Our staff work with families, encouraging them to value education and supporting children with further welfare care. They challenge cultural practices, including the sale of Dalit children into bonded labour, and advocate for children with teachers in government schools where Dalit children are often subject to bullying and discrimination.
There has been considerable local opposition to this project, especially from higher-caste groups who do not believe Dalit children deserve an education. We are committed to continuing to support this important work, providing advocacy and skills for life to children from a marginalised community who historically have had very few opportunities to better themselves.
How can I help?
Could you join us in partnering with this project? Regular monthly gifts increase stability and allow our local partners to plan and develop the work further. We will report annually on how your donations are being used,.