By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, Dec. 29, 2018: A Dalit Christian author and activist on December 29 urged a group of children from her community to follow the example of Bhimrao Ramji Ambedkar, the principal architect of the Constitution of India, and a founding father of the Republic of India.
“Although born in a poor Dalit family that faced case discrimination Ambedkar worked hard to acquire many degrees and became a renowned jurist, economist, politician and social reformer,” Shalin Maria Lawrence told some 150 children during a Christmas celebration.
The children came from several evening study centers managed by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) in Tamil Nadu.
Lawrence, who was the chief guest at the Christmas program, urged the students to set a goal for life and strive to achieve it, as Ambedkar had done. She also urged them not to let caste discrimination to affect their lives but fight for their rights guaranteed by the Indian Constitution.
The CBCI Office for Dalits and Backward Classes has been conducting model evening study centers in Tamil Nadu and Odisha for Dalit children.
Since many Dalit huts are not conducive for children to study, they come to the study centers, mostly church buildings, in the evening, explained Father Devasagayaraj M Zackarias, national secretary of the CBCI Office.
The centers help children revise their class lessons under the supervision of teachers. They also develop their talents along studies, the priest explained.
Around 150 children and 50 teachers and volunteers attended the Christmas celebrations at Mazhai Malai Madha Arulthalam, Acharapakkam, in the Kancheepuram district of Tamil Nadu.
The children expressed their joy of meeting children from other villages and listening to the motivational talks.
The children performed dances, sang songs and gave speeches on the theme of child rights.