Our friends at the Superforest Blog have written a wonderful article on 2010 Freedom Award winner JEEVIKA! This is the first in a four part series of blog posts, profiling all four 2010 awardees: JEEVIKA, Tina Frundt, Roger Plant, and (yours truly) Anne Keehn. Here’s an excerpt (via Superforest):
Inspiration Information — JEEVIKA
“I dream for a world and people living in total equality, freedom and fellowship.” –Kiran Kamal Prasad
A few weeks ago I attended to the Freedom Awards — an event thrown by freetheslaves.net to honor those present day abolitionists who have dedicated their lives to fighting modern slavery. I promised then that I would dedicate an inspiration post to each of the four award winners from that tonight. Today’s post focuses on the Harriet Tubman Freedom Award winner: JEEVIKA.
When talking about slavery, nowhere in the world suffers more humans in forced bondage than India. It is a problem not only of vast population, limited resources and rampant poverty, but also of a deeply ingrained socio-cultural caste system. There over 1 billion in India today. More than a quarter of them are dalits —untouchables. For centuries, this lowest caste has been subjected to extreme poverty and humiliation. Simply being born into a dalit family insure a life of hardship and oppression. Not all dalits are slaves, but a significant majority spend their entire lives trapped in debt bondage, perhaps from a small amount borrowed from wealthy farm owners to pay for a family emergency. They’ve been cheated when exploitative landlords claim the debts have never been repaid. Often these debts are passed down by generation, with sons and daughters inheriting the bondage from their fathers fathers. It is a form of illegal and unquestionable slavery without many outlets for recourse.
And that’s where Kiran Kamal Prasad comes in. A former Jesuit priest, Kiran first discovered that the practice of bonded labor was officially outlawed in India over 30 years ago. Ever since, he has worked tirelessly to speak directly with current slaves and powerful land owners to grant their workers’ freedom.
To learn more about JEEVIKA go here.
To donate to Free the Slaves go here.