Reaching the unreached to bring Hopesss and change in their lives.
“Service to Man Is Service to God”
The word Dalit—literally translating to “oppressed” or “broken/crushed”—is generally used to refer to people who were once known as “untouchables” seperated from the rest of society by the caste system. Untouchability, for a fact, is such an acute expression of psychological violence that right from childhood, a Dalit is made to feel that he or she is an inferior being, a person of low intelligence and a person whose life is worth only the service and the betterment of the dominant caste men and women. Dalits are the members of the lowest rank of Indian society. They are supposed to reside outside the village so that their physical presence does not pollute the “real” village. Not only are they restricted in terms of space, but their houses are also supposed to be inferior in quality and devoid of any facilities like water and electricity. Dalits live in mud huts with thatched roofs and dirt floors. Dalits face discrimination at almost every level: from access to education and medical facilities to restrictions on where they can live and what jobs they can have. The discrimination against the Dalits is especially significant because of the number of people affected; Dalits have been oppressed, culturally subjugated, and politically marginalized. The principals of untouchability and “purity and pollution” dictate what Dalits are and are not allowed to do; where they are and are not allowed to live, go, or sit; who they can and cannot give water to, eat with, or marry; extending into the minutia of all aspects of daily life.
HOPESSS is a Non- Governmental, Charitable, Social Organization committed to the principles
of justice and equality, regardless
of caste, race, gender or religion. This commitment
is expressed by providing access to quality
health care and education, by making
economic opportunities available for
poorest people, and by working
to protect human rights.
HOPESSS redefines the ideological context of the word “Untouchability” to mean three things.
Someone who believes in equality,
Practices equality in his or her life,
and protests inequality wherever he or she sees it.
This redefinition challenges Dalits to be more egalitarian in their own lives, both in terms of inter sub-caste discrimination and sexism; allows for the inclusion of Dalits from different religious backgrounds (Dalits who have converted to a different religion, but still suffer discrimination); and allows for the inclusion of people who are not from the "untouchable" castes, but still believe in values of equality.
"An Aimless Life is Always a Miserable Life"
The Practice of Untouchability
The practice of untouchability is also still very common in srikakulam District of Andhra pradesh. The following are some of the forms in which untouchability is practiced:
- In rural areas, Dalits are often not allowed to engage in cultural and social activities with the rest of the community, including entering temples, churches, sitting in the main spaces of villages, taking part in religious programs, and eating with the rest of the community during village ceremonies.
- Dalits are also not allowed to use the same items as non-Dalits in the communities; they are not allowed to rent or even enter homes of non-Dalits, use the same wells, eat and drink from the same dishes …etc.
- In schools, colleges, Dalit children are often forced to sit separately from the rest of the students during the meals and are the only ones asked to clean latrines in the schools, colleges…etc.
- As a result of this caste-based discrimination in schools, colleges, Dalits are often less educated than the rest of the community. Due to illiterate boy/girl get married at the age of 13-16. Early pregnancy & early children at the age of 15. No attention for education. Education of the girl child is completely forgotten.
- Due to these low levels of education, the majority (78%) of Dalits are labour workers. They have limited opportunities for upward mobility and remain economically backward.
- Attempts to set up stores in villages by Dalits are often unsuccessful. Due to untouchability practices, the rest of the villagers refuse to purchase things from their shops.
- Dalits are forced to do some of the dirtiest jobs in srikakulam district of Andhra pradesh. For instance, leather workers, street sweepers, cobblers, agricultural workers, manual "scavengers digging village graves, disposing of dead animals, washing clothes and cleaning human excreta. A majority of the people are bonded laborers are Dalits. These jobs rarely provide less income for Dalits to feed their families or to send their children to school. As a result, many Dalits are impoverished, uneducated, and illiterate.
- Government authorities often deny basic needs such as electricity, and water to Dalit families, while they provide them for non-Dalits. When Dalits petition the government to provide these facilities, their requests are often ignored.
- When Dalits do try to stand up for their legal rights, members of the dominant castes often assault them and/or practice social boycotts against the community.
- The SC/ST (Prevention of Atrocities) Act: 1989 is often not implemented properly (i.e., cases are either not registered under the Act when they should be, or are not registered under the relevant provisions) due to discriminatory practices by government officials.
- Dalits are often landless, as non-Dalits often own the majority of land in the villages, they are also often denied, because of the caste-based discrimination in the villages.
- In rural areas, Dalits often work in extremely high temperatures as 'coolie' workers (day labourers) for local landlords. Landlords take advantage of their backward, illiterate workers and pay them very little; the women are exploited and paid less than men for doing the same work and same number of hours. If a Dalit family can't make ends meet, they will take out a loan from their landlord who is also a money lender. If the family is struggling to repay their loan, landlords demand that their children become 'bonded' labourers and work for nothing. Bonded labour is a form of modern day slavery where children as young as six carry out tasks their tiny bodies are physically unprepared for, and consequently face major health risks. Sometimes when a bonded girl marries, she must spend the first night with her landlord as a matter of his 'right'.
If a Dalit child escapes from bonded labour, they will still work in the fields with a parent or look after small groups of cows or goats, often referred to as 'grazing the cows'. Most Dalit children work as the family needs extra income.
- Dalits are widely subjected to Poverty, social ostracism, religious marginalization, sexual exploitation, illiteracy, malnutrition, homelessness, chronic illness, bonded labour, and exploitation of every kind is prevelant among Dalits.
- If Dailts fights for his rights, non- Dalits make Assaulting, raping, or using force of any kind against a Dalit woman or a Dalit girl; burning down of Dalit homes, Occupying or cultivating any land owned by or alloted to a Dalit, Forcing a Dalit to leave his/her house, village, or other place of residence…etc. Dalits are easy targets for human rights violations.
Challenges are what make life interesting and overcoming them is what makes life meaningful
HOPESSS give hopes, who live in desperate situation and offer opportunities for qualitative education which will gradually close the gap between the rich and poor and bring about social change to their communities, build a nation where everyone can live security and dignity. An initiative for social transformation through Holistic Education. Help us to break the cycle of poverty and save precious lives. Your help gives them the bright future.
"At The End Of Our Lives,
We Will Not Be Judged By How
Many Diplomas We Have Received,
How Much Money We Have Made Or
How Many Great Things We Have Done."
We Will Be Judged By... "I Was Hungry And
You Gave Me To Eat. I Was Naked And You
Clothed Me. I Was Homeless And You Took Me in."
“”HELPING HANDS ARE HOLIER THAN THE PRAYING LIPS” LOVE & CARE FOR THE POOR, UNWANTED AND DOWNTRODDEN PEOPLE” – “Touch The Lives Of The Needy”.
St. Mother Theresa
Ours is a battle not for wealth or for power. It is a battle for Freedom. It is a battle for reclamation of Human Personality.