Caste

Sometimes it is so humiliatingly pointless you can scarcely believe it – Dalits denied the right to wear shoes, walk in certain public areas or use the same tumblers as others in a teashop. Sometimes it is so brutally ugly you can hardly believe that too – Dalits attacked or even killed for some real or perceived slight, or for daring to challenge the established order. Read more

Women

Oppressed, dominated, maltreated, exploited, vulnerable, insecure. All these words could describe the position of women in village India. Brave, feisty, determined, assertive, bold, confident. These words too are true of such women. The difference: the self-help group. VST and its partners support a 20,000-strong women’s movement of self-help group members. Read more

HIV and Aids

Anyone can get infected by HIV but not everyone does. The most vulnerable in society are most at risk – such as migrants, those in debt, the lowest in the caste system, the poorest, those least able to avoid unsafe sex, or forced into a situation where they have to sell sex. VST and its partners try to break this alliance of poverty, inequality and disease. Read more

 Indigenous people

The tribal people who inhabit the forested hills of south India are one of the most excluded, marginalised and poorest communities in India. Once self-sufficient, they now depend on the state for livelihood support – special assistance that is promised as a right, but often denied in practice. Read more

Child rights

Children affected by HIV, Dalit children, tribal children, teenage girls in bonded labour or pressed into under-age marriage. All have rights to education, decent livelihoods, and freedom from discrimination and injustice. It is hard for young people to assert their rights. But by coming together in groups they find surprising strength. Read more