Untouchables. Impure. Lesser Human Beings.

Dalits are those placed on the bottom of a social caste system, and as such are discriminated against by the higher castes. Caste discrimination is a global issue, but the majority of Dalits are found throughout South-East Asia, including India.

There are approximately 250 million Dalits in India, and many people consider them not only beneath the higher castes, but also outside of the caste system altogether. Dalits are excluded from or have only limited access to legal aid, education, health services, and political participation, consequently keeping them in extreme poverty.

“Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat.” (Mother Teresa)

Very little legislation is in place to protect Dalits in India, and what exists is rarely implemented. Consequently, Dalits are subject to horrific and extreme crimes: debt or sexual slavery, bonded labour, violence, abuse, assault, and manual scavenging – the removal of human waste by hand. This task is reserved exclusively for Dalits.

Violence and discrimination against Dalits in India occurs almost daily. In March 2015, a 17-year-old Dalit girl was set alight for pursuing her education. In May 2015, 3 Dalits were run over and killed by a group of higher castes over a land dispute. There are many more stories of injustice against Dalits not only in India, but worldwide.

Proverbs 31: 8-9 tells us to “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves,DSCN0798 for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy.” Mi-Link is working with the Dalits and tribal villagers of India, providing them with free education in a safe environment, as well as free village wells and toilets.

Throughout the Bible, God reveals His desire for His children to show compassion and mercy to the poor and needy. To demonstrate the love and kindness of Jesus Christ to “the least of these” (Matthew 25:40). To show them they are Accepted, they are Treasured, they are Not A Mistake.

Dalits. Priceless. Worthy. Loved.

Sources: International Dalit Solidarity Network, AljazeeraYahoo News India, One India, The Times of India