A charity has received funding from Lloyds TSB Foundation for its work to stop caste discrimination in the UK. Dalit Solidarity Network UK is a charity campaigning for the rights of up to 500,000 Dalits living in the UK. Commonly believed to be an issue found only in countries such as India and other countries of South Asia, caste persecution exists in some communities in the UK, as the recent legal battle of a Coventry couple claiming caste discrimination forced them from their jobs has highlighted.
Lloyds TSB Foundation has awarded the charity a two year grant of £18,000 to contribute to the salary of the Director, Meena Varma, who runs Dalit Solidarity Network UK and has led the charity to achievements such as getting the British government to make provisions to outlaw caste discrimination in the UK Equality Act. When the government finally agrees to activate this provision, it will enable the prosecution of anyone discriminating on the basis of caste in the UK.
Charities can find it difficult to secure funding for core costs like salaries for staff members, forcing them to cut back on staff or close vital services. The post being funded by the Foundation is crucial to the charity’s survival, its continued campaign against caste discrimination and its work with the Dalit community to self advocate and change perceptions.
Discrimination against Dalits can result in social exclusion, discrimination from employers within their communities and within the health, education and political systems.
Jeremy Corbyn MP is the Chairman of Dalit Solidarity Network UK, he says: “The funding from Lloyds TSB Foundation for this core position is wonderful news. We must continue our campaign against discrimination on the basis of caste, because despite the caste system being outlawed, it still permeates some parts of society. People who have been identified as Dalit can find themselves being bullied or harassed in the workplace or at school, can find work hard to secure, can be unfairly dismissed from their jobs and can be denied access to services and religious institutions such as temples.”
Emma Tregear is a Grant Manager at Lloyds TSB Foundation for England and Wales, she says: “This is the Foundations 25th anniversary year and we are very proud to support the important work of the Dalit Solidarity Network UK. Seventy per cent of the Foundation’s funding goes towards vital core costs such as salaries and overheads, if you know of a charity whose work supports disadvantaged people and needs funds to cover these sorts of costs please direct them to our website www.lloydstsbfoundations.org.uk as they may qualify for funding.”