The Dalit people are cruelly ostracised by the country’s caste system

Dalits are stigmatised in India and labelled as ‘untouchables’. They are not permitted to live in certain areas, shop in certain shops or eat with people of a higher caste. Access to employment, healthcare or education is limited. Dalit people may not use the same boreholes as upper castes, visit the same temples or drink from the same cups in tea markets. Their children are frequently made to sit at the back of classrooms.

Thousands of Dalit girls have been forcibly ‘dedicated’ or married to a deity or to a temple. Once dedicated, they are required to become prostitutes for the upper-castes and eventually auctioned into an urban brothel. Many young girls contract HIV and become trapped in this system for a lifetime. They are deemed as doubly untouchable because HIV adds its own stigma of untouchability to their outcast status.

HART is not just ‘another aid organisation’. We support people suffering from oppression and exploitation who are generally not served by major aid organisations and are off the radar screen of international media. Between 2007-12, we raised the profile of the Dalits urgent concerns. We advocated for the reversal of India’s centuries-old oppression under the caste system. We supported medical clinics to treat patients with HIV.

Local Partner

Jeedimetla Medical Clinic

India’s caste system was officially abolished in 1950 but continues to bestow privileges on the so-called upper castes, while lower castes have much less status.

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