Although there are an estimated 110 million people from Notified and Denotified Tribes (NT/DNT) in India, they are virtually invisible. Typically, they do not have birth certificates, marriage certificate, voting cards, ration cards or any form of official identification. This means they are not covered in government censuses and do not have access to jobs or welfare.

Santosh Jadhav has a Master’s degree in social work. He is also the founding director of NIRMAN, the New Initiative for the Reclamation of Mankind, a Karuna-supported project dedicated to ending the discrimination endured by Notified and Denotified tribal communities.

Despite Santosh’s achievements he has been branded a ‘criminal’ from birth. His caste designation is ‘Ramoshi’ – a nomadic tribe officially labelled as criminal in 1871.

Few NT/DNT children ever attend school. Santosh, however, persuaded his parents to let him have an education.

“I begged and cried to be allowed to go to school. My ‘dominant’ caste neighbours mocked us… ‘So Ramoshis’ are going to school now’ they sneered.” Santosh

NIRMAN has set up a study centre in Pune. Here, NT/DNT students with little or no formal education can take a three-month course to improve their English, learn IT skills and prepare resumes in order to improve their chance of employment. 25 of the 27 students enrolled in 2013-2014 have now found jobs.

“The study centre is the best opportunity I have had in my life,” says 24-year-old Dharam Khachadad who, since completing the course, is now working as a customer service executive in an IT company in Pune.

Thanks to your support, Dharam and other members of his community are breaking through the barriers of exclusion and are taking their rightful places society.

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