Whilst India is emerging as a power on the world stage, the contrast between rich and poor is still profound. According to a recent studyCitation, India has one of the highest rates of inequality in the world, with the gap between rich and poor steadily rising for decades. For those at the bottom of the heap, life is extremely tough.
*Mishka was born with a heart problem. She was also born into a Dalit family, who have no rights to property, limited options for work, face significant discrimination in education and are not allowed to live outside the slum areas. They could not afford treatment for her.
But, when Global Care’s partners, GCare Foundation, heard about the family, they offered the family a lifeline. They paid for Mishka’s medical treatment and supported Mishka and her three siblings in attending school. When the family were facing starvation in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, GCare was there to provide essential food parcels.
Mishka and her family have been shown that they are precious, in the midst of a society that despises and demeans them. Read their wonderful story…
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.
What’s so important about Dalit Education?
We know that education is the best way to lift whole families out of poverty. Education is the pathway to opportunity, to life skills, and to hope for a better future. All these things are still routinely denied to Dalit children.
How can I help?
Could you become a Change-Maker for Dalit children? 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.I want to help