The caste system in India imposes a strict social order which puts the Dalit people at the very bottom of the social pile. The Dalit are often called the “Untouchables”, because even their shadow is considered polluting if it touches someone of a higher caste. It is against this background of cruel social injustice that the Dalit people live. The Dalit people are forced to perform the most menial tasks in society, often at great personal risk, and are treated with disrespect by others. But each new generation hopes things will be better – and many parents work hard to send their children to school, as education is the route to a better life.
But even where education is available to Dalit children – and often it is not – they are frequently pushed to the back of the classroom, and bullied by other students and sometimes teachers. Many Dalit children leave school by age 11, and their future is cruelly snatched from them before it can even begin. This discrimination means that the cycle of deprivation and injustice remains unbroken.
How old do you have to be before you give up all hope of something better? Many Dalit children don’t even finish primary school. That’s when they give up, and give in to the cruelty of the caste system.
At the Ann Foundation, we believe in creating a better world for everyone. We don’t believe that anyone, particularly any child, is untouchable.
We know that education in general, and specifically the knowledge of other languages, can be an invaluable tool to help these children step out of their ‘caste’ and into reaching their true potential.
We wish to help reduce these barriers to education for Dalit children in seven villages across the Thanjavur District in India. Our aim is to put twenty computers in these seven villages, and run online English courses for Dalit children. However computers aren’t the only useful donations – do let us know if you would be interested in donating other school supplies, including uniforms, backpacks, books and stationery, as well as more general items such as shoes and vitamins, can directly send it to the children
These young people have been let down by society and by education. Our goal is to show them that they are valued, and that there are opportunities in the world for them and a place where they can develop and thrive.