Dalit women have now started to enjoy dignified life

Ram Kumari Das, a Dalit women activist from Dodhana VDC, Siraha, Southern East Nepal

June 18, 2013, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol: 07 No. -1 June 14- 2013 (Jestha 31, 2070)

I am a member of “District Level Network to fight Violence against Women” formed by Dalit Janakalya Yuba Club (DJKYC) and “Rapid Response Team” formed by Woman and Children Office and DJKYC. As I am working on the issue of violence against women I have come closer to the DJKYC because it is primarily raising two major issues in the district. First: the issue of discrimination against Dalit and second: the issue of eradication of violence against women.

The DJKYC had implemented “Empowerment Program for Rights and Inclusion of Dalit and Women” in 10 VDCs of Siraha and Udaypur districts in support of the Rights, Democracy and Inclusion Fund (RDIF). The project has formed 11 dialogue centers and 11 networks against violence against women in selected VDCs of Siraha and Udaypur districts which are operated in participation of 420 Dalit and women. 

This has resulted in launching creative campaigns in public places like temples, party venues, and seminars among others.  Consequently, past tradition to allow Dalits to take their meal only after non-Dalits and restriction from entering into temples is now changed. Both the Dalit and non-Dalit take meal simultaneously, together. In some case, priests of local temples are from Dalit community. Besides this, inter-cast marriage couples used to be displaced from the society in the past. Things have now changed and five couples, who resorted to inter-caste marriage, are now enjoying dignified life in their villages. Dalits feel no discrimination with respect to other upper caste people in project areas.

Another event is that voice of Dalits is being heard and evaluated in the district. After enhancing capacity of local Dalits and women, 19 women from Dalit community are holding crucial posts of School Management Committee, Community Forest Users' Group and VDC Council among others. Their meaningful participation at the local institutions has helped to ensure free education, scholarship for Dalit and physically challenged individuals.

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