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DFN began in 2002 in response to the plea of Dalit leaders: "Educate our children!" Today a freedom movement is advancing all over India through Dalit Education Centers, where Dalit children learn English and are taught the values of freedom, equality and human dignity. Learn more.
In debt to landlords, moneylenders, grocers, and more, most Dalits work hand-to-mouth, ground down in horrific poverty. This economic disempowerment forces many into bonded labor and prostitution. Our Vocational Training, Self-Help Groups, and Fair-Rate Loans enable Dalit adults to learn marketable skills and support their families. Learn more.
Most Dalits cannot afford healthcare. Simple fractures go untreated and result in crippling malformations. More than 40% of India's youngest children are malnourished. Dalits also suffer from diseases unseen in developed nations, like polio and leprosy. DFN's comprehensive community-based healthcare program meets immediate needs and is paving the way for sustainability. Learn more.
DFN is the leading voice of justice for the Dalits in our nation's capital. Focusing on the big-picture of ending the trafficking of Dalits, our education campaigns, legislative work, and continuous advocacy promote justice for the Dalits. Our work with Dalit children and women in India builds hope and empowerment. Learn more.
India’s Dalits were once known as untouchables in the days when the caste system had no laws against it. Although the federal government has tried to give Dalits a lift-up with affirmative action legislation, some Dalits says they are more untouchable than Dalitis from the Hindu majority. These are Christian and Muslim Dalits.
It’s an open secret that has come to haunt the Karnataka government again. Taking note of the Devadasi system in the state, the Apex Court recently directed the Karnataka Chief Secretary to take necessary steps to prevent women from being forced into it. In spite of a ban on the age-old system, which human rights activists term akin to slavery, Devadasi dedication is still prevalent in the country.
Child trafficking is the recruitment, transport, transfer or receipt of a child for exploitation. The International Labour Organization estimates that globally, 1.2 million children are trafficked each year.
On January 15, 2014, in commemoration of the 85th anniversary of the birth of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., descendants of some of America’s most prominent African American Legacy Families, including the Quander Family (descendants of George Washington’s slaves), will join U.S. Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Congressional members and staff, and representatives of Dalit Freedom Network in the U.S. Capitol Visitor Center’s Congressional Auditorium in Washington, D.C. to sign “The Declaration of Empathy,” which addresses the modern-day oppression and enslavement of the Dalit people of India. This event will become a milestone in the history of the contemporary abolition movement.
Just outside of the southern Indian city of Hyderabad, by country roads in a flat green landscape, smoke rises off huge furnaces.The heat hardens mud clay into the bricks that are making modern India. Close by the air is acrid with coal soot, catching in the throat.
Like a scene from a long-gone age, men and women walk in single file up and down steps as if climbing a pyramid. They strain under a load, balanced in yoke-like hods, to deliver freshly-moulded bricks to the furnace.
With this Declaration of Empathy, we stand in solidarity with the oppressed Dalit people of India. Until they are free, none of us is, indeed, free.
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Whereas, The Dalit people of South Asia are considered history’s longest standing oppressed population, subjected for millennia to discrimination, untouchability, bonded slavery, and social and economic segregation;
Whereas, This Declaration expresses our deepest concern and empathies for all Dalits everywhere who are subject to the scourge of human trafficking and modern day slavery;
Whereas, We the people of The United States of America are in a unique position to understand the suffering of slaves, the passion of abolitionists, and the path to freedom;
Whereas, The Quander Historical Society, Inc., which represents one of the oldest documented descendants of slaves in The United States, and Gye Nyame, Inc., a nonprofit that focuses on cultural and educational advancement, and Dalit Freedom Network, a nonprofit dedicated to freedom and equality for the Dalits in India, have called on The United States of America, and her people, to stand in solidarity with the Dalits;
Nowtherefore, We the undersigned parties, in a spirit of unity and solidarity, and in an effort to promote justice for all, respectfully assert that our nation should recognize modern day slavery in all its forms and should strongly oppose the continuing degradation, discrimination, oppression, and segregation of Dalits anywhere in the world.
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