Who are the ‘Dalits’ or the ‘untouchables’ in India?
The Dalit or ´untouchables´ are members of the poorest and more discriminated part of Indian society. With a cast system that survives till this day, people who are born Dalit die with this condition. They live in situations of extreme poverty and suffer grave economic inequality and social discrimination.
Especially discomforting is the situation children have to suffer. A very high percentage of Dalit children do not attend school or abandon it before finishing primary school, which forces them to work in the street or beg for money. The situation for girls is even more serious because being a Dalit woman means having triple discrimination for caste, class and gender.
The social stigma is so strong that it is tremendously difficult for Dalits to have the same opportunities as the rest of the population because they will always be considered impure. It is because of this that those who decide to stay in school have to make greater efforts than the rest of the population.
Other than educational difficulties, Dalits also have to deal with limited access to public health. They only turn to the doctor in extreme cases and doctors do not agree to visit Dalit homes.
Support for the ‘Dalit’ population
In Fundación Esperanza y Alegría we work to help Dalit communities revert their situation and get out of extreme poverty. In 2017, a total of 60.000 Dalits were benefited directly thanks to the projects the Foundation has in India.
Some of the educational projects whose beneficiaries are scholars belonging to the Dalit caste, are St. Francis Higher Secondary School, the center of Special Star School or the socio-sport schools that Fundación Esperanza y Alegría has in collaboration with the Real Madrid Foundation.