My name is Keval Shah, and I thought I'd briefly take this opportunity to introduce myself. I am taking over as GlobalGiving Project Leader from Jilna, who has had this responsibility until now.
I have been at Karuna for six months now, and am greatly enjoying my time here. I was fortunate enough to spend a year in India before I came to work here, and spent some of that time with dalit communities in urban slum areas. I was struck most by the apparent hopelessness of the situation for so many of the women there. This dire state of affairs, which is a living reality for so many, is summed up in the words and speech of Dr. Ruth Manorama, which I share below.
I am so grateful to be able to contribute to such a worthy cause, and thank all of you for doing the same.
I look forward to posting more updates in the future
Very best wishes,
"Eighty million Dalit women in India encounter the cumulative impact of discrimination in their day to day lives. They are denied of their dignity, livelihood and social security and everything that is humane and just. Women continue to suffer discrimination based on “work and descent”, which lead to social exclusion, physical separation, degrading of occupation like manual scavenging, violent appropriation and sexual control by men of the dominant caste, evident in systematic rape of Dalit women and perpetuation of forced prostitution in the name of religion through the Devadasi system. The state and non state upper caste actors act with impunity, violating domestic and international human rights law.
Dalit women have to grapple with the discrimination due to caste hierarchy and untouchability on the one hand and extreme economic deprivation and poverty on the other coupled with political, legal and religious-cultural discrimination. They are thrice alienated, by caste, being lower than others; by class, being the most poor and by gender, due to patriarchy."
- Acceptance speech by Dr. Ruth Manorama, at The Right Livelihood Awards, 2006.
Full speech available here: http://www.rightlivelihood.org/manorama_speech.html