SDF - Social Development Foundation invite people to participate in its various advocacy and lobbying campaigns. SDF also invite individuals and organizations to support through collaboration, donations and in kind to help us provide support to the people. Please go through this campaign and support SDF’s work in this area. Mushhars need your support. Mushhars are the most marginalized community at present moment....and children can´t wait.


Children (anyone under the age of 18 as defined by the Convention on the Rights of the Child), like adults, have rights to ensure their well-being and safety are maintained at all times. Nation states (countries) have a duty to successfully maintain these rights. Children’s rights are the same all over the world: each country has agreed to uphold and preserve the Convention on the Rights of the Child created by the United Nations.
The Convention on the Rights of the Child is an international agreement that was adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1989; this then became international law in 1990. 177 countries world-wide have ratified (agreed to) the Convention, including the UK which ratified it in 1991. There are only 2 countries in the world that have not agreed to the convention, can you guess which countries? United States of America and Somalia.

Of the 41 articles, there are 4, which are known as the Convention’s general principles and these are:
Article 2: All rights guaranteed by the Convention must be available to all children without discrimination of any kind
Article 3: The best interests of the child must be a primary consideration in all actions concerning children
Article 6: Every child has the right to life, survival and development
Article 12: The child’s view must be considered and taken into account in all matters affecting him or her

Why SDF initiated this program?

In June 2007, SDF along with Uttar Pradesh Land Alliance organized a foot march on Land, Dignity and Freedom from Gughali (Maharajganj) to Chaurichaura (Gorakhpur).The aim was to aware the marginalized landless people about their right over land, resources and dignity. In one such day, the padyatra entered Malwabar, Nautan, Udainagar villages in Deoria dist, where Mushahars were living in abysmal conditions. As part of the program, a Fact Finding Team with local people was constituted and later the result showed there was lack of facilities which the Government was supposed to provide. So there was a need to work strongly in the area, to make the community aware of their rights, and realized that due to lack of basic education, the potential target of exploitation would soon be young children. Thus, SDF came up with the idea of “KOSHISH”.


Challenge is to keep the children in the school. Due to poverty, children are forced to work as agricultural labourers to support the family. As they are landless community, it was pertinent to bring in the idea of empowering the women of the community economically. It is now supporting 10 Mushahar Women in Malwabar under the economic empowerment programme by MCKS Food for Hungry Foundation. This resulted in bringing many children back to school and their stayed. Such support have to be extended to other villagers to encourage an overall development of the children and their families.


The only thing SDF set –out to work towards is to create an environment for these children which is as good as any other child in the world. These children would be integrated to mainstream schooling of the government. Scholarships will be raised for girls and boys in case they pursue higher education. But those who are not too good in studies then road is not closed. SDF with help of some professionals has set-up a training centre in the village which is named as Prerna Kendra. The idea is to give children basic vocational training, so that they can earn better. Besides this, workshops will be conducted include training on leadership development, human rights education, eradication of superstition, etc. To create information centres, libraries in the area, which can then be managed by the children of this village. Not only to bring change but empowering them to become a true Human Being.

About Mushahars

Though there is no specific figures of the numbers of Mushahars in Uttar-Pradesh yet social activists estimate their number at around five lakhs. The major concentration of Mushahars is in Maharajganj, Deoria, Kushinagar, Mau, Jaunpur, Chandauli, Ghazipur, Siddharthnagar and Varanasi. The main profession of Mushahars have been collecting forest leaves and make ‘Pattals’, piggery, and catching rats. Even among the Dalits their number do not attract political leaders to come to their bustees (habitation) and seek vote. Over 90% of the community remain illiterate and landless. The community remain thoroughly apolitical and therefore victim of social and political marginalisation and also humiliated and exploited. In the thick of unemployment and landlessness, many of them have APL (Above Poverty Line) cards. The quality of food grain provided to them is pathetic.