India is one of the world’s most populous countries, and its rapid development highlights an ever-widening gap between rich and poor. As construction and mining proliferate in the country’s forests and rural areas, many projects take place without the consent of local residents. They are forced to eke out a living from diminishing forests, depleted rivers and limited agriculture.
India’s deep social disparities create a variety of challenges for marginalized groups. Although the caste system was formally abolished in 1950, prejudice against lower castes and religious minorities has continued. In highly traditional communities, strict beliefs about gender and sexuality lead to a variety of harms. Women and girls, in particular, often lack the education and opportunities needed to make decisions about their own lives and bodies. Many families, in an attempt to secure a stable future for their daughters, pressure them to marry and bear children at a young age—not realizing that the girls are more likely to drop out of school, experience abuse or die in childbirth.
Meanwhile, LGBT people and sex workers often face daily discrimination and violence. They are often rejected by society and have difficulty accessing employment, education, housing and healthcare.
AJWS is committed to helping India’s oppressed people advocate for human rights. Our grantees are:
- Advocating for laws and policies that respect and protect human rights for all
- Engaging with community members and key leaders to stop discrimination against women, LGBT people, sex workers and other marginalized groups
- Educating emerging leaders from these communities, so they can build a strong national movement to promote their human rights and live with dignity