Support Dalit Women Folk Artists in Tamil Nadu

Help the Sakthi Folk Arts Centre sustain six months of operations to support Dalit women folk artists during the pandemic!
 
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The Sakthi Folk Arts Centre in Dindigul, Tamil Nadu, was started in the early 1990's by progressive, Indian, Catholic (ICM) nuns who decided to use the Tamil folk arts to develop self-esteem and economic skills in young poor Dalit women (former outcastes or untouchables).
 
Because of the intersections between casteism and patriarchalism in Tamil Nadu - as throughout South Asia where caste-based patriarchies have entrenched millennia-old systemic forms of oppression - the young women served by the Sakthi Folk Arts Center experience discrimination on the grounds of their caste identity, their gender, and as poor people and high school dropouts. These women - who predominantly identify as Dalit - are often subjected to "suffering, discrimination, and torture due to dowry (leading to suicide in some cases), physical and sexual harassment, molestation in work place, child marriage and illiteracy. [The ICM Sisters] were overwhelming challenged by the pathetic socioeconomic, cultural and political system that inflicts these women with violence and violations and denial of their fundamental rights."
 
The ICM Sisters decided to take a different approach to gender-based empowerment and, ultimately, communal divestment from both casteism and patriarchalism. In their words:
 
“In order to make these women to live a decent human living with self dignity and self esteem we intervened differently. Through folk music and dance we could organize these groups to awaken them around their issues and to strengthen them to fight against all odds. We succeeded. We realized, that We are Called To Be Different, as a result we started Sakthi Centre.”
 
The Sakthi Centre has used folk parai music and traditional weaving as a means of then both culturally reclaiming and economically empowering the women of Dindigul. Through local performances, they were able to sustain all of their operations.
 
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, the Centre ceased performances to ensure the safety of the women. At $800 per month, $5000 would provide six months of operational support to this stellar organization, thereby also supporting the arts-based divestment of Dalit women from the patriarchal and casteist systems around them.
 
For more information about the work of the Sakthi Folk Arts Centre, please see:
 
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Donations 

  • Anonymous
    • $50 
    • 1 yr
  • Anonymous
    • $200 
    • 2 yrs
  • Gokul Krishnan
    • $50 
    • 2 yrs
  • Pourang Jahanshahi
    • $33 
    • 2 yrs
  • Anonymous
    • $20 
    • 2 yrs
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Organizer

Amita Vempati
Organizer
Baltimore, MD

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