The Rights Education and Development Center (READ) is a non-governmental organization based in Tamil Nadu, South India. READ is committed to a society in which a life with dignity is possible for all. A special focus of the work of READ is to support Dalits.
"Dalit" is a terms coined by the Dalits themselves to resist and oppose the old-age designation as "untouchables." Although the concept of untouchability is prohibited by law and the Indian Constitution, Dalits continue to remain a largely disadvantaged and socially ostracized set of citizens. There are some 160 million Hindu Dalits who along with Muslim, Buddhist and Christian "untouchables" make up almost a fifth of the Indian population. Particulary, in rural areas massive discrimination against Dalits remains a harsh reality.
Dalits are victims of violence, deprivation and degradation. READ is working mainly with the especially strongly discriminated Arundhatiar community in Tamil Nadu, which is considered even more inferior among the Dalits. READ supports those involved in the abolition of human and labour rights violations against Dalits.
READs Missionis toensure the fundamental rights of every member of the Arundhatiar Community, in particular through educational measures for children; support for the economic situation of women and putting an end to inhumane working conditions.
Concrete goals include:
The term Dalit means ‘oppressed', ‘broken' or ‘crushed' to the extent of losing original identity. However, this name has been adopted by the people otherwise referred to as Harijans, untouchables, and has come to symbolize for them a movement for change and for the eradication of the centuries-old oppression under the caste system. In legal and constitutional terms, Dalits are known in India as scheduled castes. There are currently some 166.6 million Dalits in India (source: http://minorityrights.org/minorities/dalits/)