India: the Order of Malta supports child medical centres especially for the ‘untouchable’ caste
Sixty Child Development Centres are being established in the 2001 earthquake struck regions of Bachau and Rapar, where caste discrimination is a particularly big problem. The Order of Malta German Emergency Coorps (Malteser) supports a three-year project which aims at improving the situation of children who belong to the former so-called ‘untouchable’ caste, the Tribals and Dalit. The marginalized castes are kept away from every aspect of social life because they are considered ‘inferior’.
For 60 villages a preschool teacher will be trained. Every year, 1,500 children from 3 to 6 will attend pre-school preparing them to enter the public school system. Youth groups and cultural events are meant for several hundred children at the age of 7 to 15.
The Child Development Centres will also function as focal points for the marginalized communities.
The project is part of a larger programme to promote the development of the most backward communities in the north of Gujarat.