top of page


In India’s social hierarchy, the Arunthathiyar community is on the lowest rung. They are a Dalit sub-group who experience high levels of discrimination and are treated as an underclass - even by other Dalits. Centuries of discrimination has deeply embedded a sense of inferiority and Arunthathiyars themselves have low expectations of what they can achieve in life.



Members of the Andipatti Sanitaation Workers' Forum meet to discuss defending their rights

Traditionally they were expected to undertake the  “unclean” roles, such as cleaning toilets, handling dead bodies and leather work. This legacy endures today and most resort to work as farm labourers, or in other low-paid manual jobs. Many Arunthathiyar communities have been pushed out of their home villages by other castes and forced to form separate colonies which are lacking in infrastructure and facilities.

Our partners work to break this cycle of discrimination and low status. We focus on forming women’s self-help groups and children’s clubs. Women’s self-help groups provide affordable credit, a pathway to self-employment and a forum for solidarity and collective action. Children's clubs encourage self-belief and educational attainment.

bottom of page