Why UnCaste India
Ravi and ARV's goal is to help Dalit villagers achieve a rapid progression to a life of healthy self-sufficiency and well-being. ARV's goal is not to replace the Indian government in its responsibility to its citizens; instead, they provide the resources needed so that the villagers will eventually be able to stand alone and demand their entitlements.
Through your support of the Longitude's UnCaste India Campaign, a day will come when Indians are no longer judged by their genealogy or social caste. Join the movement for Survival, Empowerment and Equality in India.
The official story in India is that the government has abolished their social caste system. The reality, however, is that oppression through discrimination is still the norm in lower caste villages and small towns throughout the country.
Formerly known as "Untouchables," members of India's lowest caste have reclaimed the name of Dalit to describe their disadvantaged place within Indian society. Dalit discrimination is rampant and purposeful even though the Indian constitution now outlaws this practice.
Entire Dalit villages are deprived of government aid, leaving the most vulnerable to starve to death or die from disease. Dalit workers are refused well-paying jobs and decent housing. Dalit children face abuse and violence from their upper caste teachers in public schools. The caste system is entrenched, and the Dalit people will continue to suffer unjustly until it is truly abolished.
Longitude's purpose in India is to work directly with grassroots leaders to stop the cycle of discrimination and violence that oppresses the Dalit people. The UnCaste India Campaign directly supports the Association of Relief Volunteers (ARV), a network of 300 motivated and talented Indian volunteers led by Ravi Kumar, a visionary human rights advocate.
Through the three phases of the UnCaste India Campaign - Survival, Empowerment, and Equality - Longitude and ARV work together to help the Dalits raise themselves from a life of impoverished banishment and discrimination to one of self-sustained equality.
ARV starts with the basic needs – shelter, food and medical supplies. Before a people can take care of themselves, they need the strength to stand, a safe place to think, and the confidence to smile. Depending on a village's needs, ARV creates a program that provides the resources the government is not supplying.
All ARV programs are continually assessed for progress and accountability. ARV's goal is show success through their programs so that the local government will become motivated to get involved in the communities that it had previously been ignoring. Through the use of news media and continued lobbying, Ravi and the village elders have had much success convincing the local government leaders to step up and take over the projects that ARV has started.
For centuries, Dalits have been isolated in their rural villages, working only the most menial and disgusting jobs. This system of societal degradation has had success at brainwashing the Dalit people into believing that they are less intelligent and less qualified to work at one of the well-paying and dignified jobs that their upper caste neighbors hold.
Longitude's UnCaste India Campaign provides ARV and its local volunteers with the resources they need to help train and educate Dalit villagers. Helping Dalits gain trades and skills helps them to believe in their own value as people, parents, and members of Indian society.
Getting up on your feet is hard enough when you're starting at the bottom. The last thing people need is outside forces pushing them back down. They want to keep their fair share of what they earn. They want to send their kids to respectable schools. They want the benefits of health and safety that are afforded to the rest of their country.
For this to happen, local awareness about caste discrimination needs to increase. The casted need to partake in political lobbying and use the tools available to seek justice.
Ravi and his network of volunteers are trained in human rights practices. When Dalit land gets stolen or a family member gets beaten, ARV will help find a lawyer and seek justice. Under the Indian constitution, entitlements are available for all Indian citizens, including a guaranteed right to food. Ravi and his network help the villagers realize what is rightly theirs for the asking.
CLICK HERE to learn more about The Association of Relief Volunteers.