MT TRUST works largely in India, where hundreds of millions of people suffer lives of grinding poverty and oppression, excluded from the region’s economic boom Dalit, Adivasi and other disadvantaged communities struggle as landless day labourers, in constant danger of violence and exploitation, with little or no recourse to the law or police. At best their children receive a few years of substandard schooling. In the teeming cities, such people live in cramped, dirty slum huts, so oppressed by the daily struggle to survive that they can offer little means of escape to their children. zoona works with community based organisations that are helping thousands of people to escape the hell of poverty and discrimination and take their rightful place in society.
As a result of gender inequality and discrimination, women and girls are the most vulnerable, marginalised and economically disempowered group in Indian society. The situation is even worse for dalit women who also suffer discrimination on the basis of class and caste. This double discrimination leaves dalit women disadvantaged in terms of education, access to land and other resources, social rights and basic services, security and access to justice. MT TRUST aims to support partners and build a strong dalit womens movement, enabling disadvantaged women to become effective agents of change, claim their rights and improve their lives.
Under the caste system each community would be identified by its occupation. Traditionally dalit and tribal people were forced to carry out the most menial and degrading work and even today many communities are expected to fulfill their caste duties by carrying out activities such as manual scavenging for rubbish, cleaning toilets by hand or making bricks out of mud. MT TRUST supports its partners in challenging traditional caste based attitudes, enabling people from dalit and tribal backgrounds to develop vocational skills so that they can access decent, dignified and better paid employment.
As a Buddhist organisation we believe that all beings have an equal potential for growth and development. But in India, more than 250 million people are considered so low in the social hierarchy that they are considered inherently inferior and impure. Once called 'untouchables', now known at dalits (downtrodden) they are routinely discriminated against and denied access to education and healthcare. Millions of dalits grow up suffering from the crippling psychological effects of this legacy of untouchability. Zoona works with its local partners to improve the confidence, health and wellbeing of people from these communities to enable as many as possible to make positive choices and live happy, fulfilled lives. …