The U.K. Charity Registration No:1078764
Voice of Dalit International [VODI] and its networks:
Voice of Dalit International was formed in 1999, to raise Dalit issues at the international level. At that time Dalits and caste discrimination was a subject seemingly pertaining to India only, aptly named by the international media as India’s ‘Hidden Apartheid’. Slow progress continues to be made, with now wider media attention and increasing numbers of sympathetic agencies. VODI’s Director has 30 years experience of working with India’s poorest sections, including Dalits and real understanding of their needs. Also, has 18 years UK experience of raising the issue of caste as a root cause of poverty, affecting 1/3rd of the Global Poor, urging that international development organisations, the Church, their institutions and agencies have a moral obligation to fulfil.
British Overseas NGOs in Development [BOND]: VODI is a member of British Overseas NGOs in Development [BOND]. BOND’s 400+ members of International Development Organisations and major Aid Agencies, highlight issues and has advisory power to the UK Government. In 2014, VODI Proposed a Caste Motion in BOND’s AGM, which was Seconded by Christian Aid and moved by BOND members. This has resulted in the formation of a BOND group on ‘Caste and Development’, of which VODI is a steering group committee member, together with other leading BOND member groups, such as Christian Aid and CAFOD. (https://www.bond.org.uk/)
Christian Network Against Caste Discrimination [CNACD]:
CNACD was formed after celebrating the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity [WPCU] 2013, which took Dalits and Caste discrimination as its theme. The network is chaired by Fr Gerard Mitchell SJ of St Anselm’s Church, West London and continues conversations through its monthly meetings held in the parish. Meetings are attended by sympathisers to Dalit issues, Church leaders, and representatives from community and voluntary organisations.
In 2014, CNACD conducted its first international 2 days conference, ‘Christian Responsibility to Dalits and Caste Discrimination’, aimed to bring others in, and particularly to deepen the involvement of Christians.
CNACD are conducting a follow up conference in May 2017, having the same theme and aiming to pursue the outcomes of the earlier event.
CastewatchUK: In 2003, VODI initiated CastewatchUK, now a community driven organisation in its own right, working nationally for the implementation of UK caste legislation, representing all sections of the affected communities. Diaspora communities migrated to the UK in the 1960s/70s, seeking work and a better life. They make up part of UK’s large Asian community, which unfortunately continues to divide on caste lines, as it continues to expand. UK Dalit communities face caste discrimination in all walks of life: caste bullying and caste name calling in the school playground; caste taunting, caste inferior/superior attitudes at University level, for those students who do not ‘drop out’ prematurely due to caste reasons; through their temples and places of worship; in the workplace; marriage and socially.
BOND GROUP ON CASTE & DEVELOPMENT
DALITAID India: In 2010, VODI initiated the formation of DALITAID India, as a result of national and state level conferences and community consultations in India, with affected Dalit Non Governmental Organisations [NGOs], Civil Society Organisations [CSOs], Community Based Organisations [CBOs], Church leaders and Dalit friendly media. The affected expressed need: of own representative voice; being part of decision making in building their communities; representation in development agencies and a representative voice in the all round development of their communities. ( http://www.dalitaid.com/ )
DALITAID India, a rising cohesive national platform, is now a registered entity in its own right, structured, with a full working committee, state level members, offices and staff. In 2014, it conducted its first national level, 2 day conference, ‘Response to Caste and Dalit Poverty’, at the National Biblical Cathetical and Lithurgical Centre, Bangalore, India. (Link- Banglore Declaration)