Radhika Rana and her family have been branded “The Untouchables of the Untouchables” by everyone they know in the Badi Community, ever since Radhika can remember. This cruelty stemmed from caste-based discrimination that looked down on people based on superficial traits such as skin tone.
Despite the caste-based system being outlawed in Nepal, the caste-based system is still evident throughout the country, especially in rural locations. The Badi Community in particular as a distinct group of people within Nepal’s Dalit caste. Within Dalit, Badi women are discriminated against due to their perceived association within the sex industry. As a result of this perception, numerous families like Radhika’s have been fighting for years to secure basic human rights, access to land, employment, social acceptance, and equality.
Radhika – Securing Fundamental Rights
Fifteen years ago, the Badi Community decided to make their voices heard by protesting on the street to secure their fundamental rights as Nepali citizens and human beings. Radhika expressed that society has undoubtedly been unfair to the people belonging to the Badi Community.
“We had to fight every moment for our fundamental rights for land, employment, housing, education for our children, social dignity, and equality. Do you think it is fair that the ‘The Nath’ (Sanskrit word meaning lord or master) so-called upper caste people want to procure the land to make it serve as a non-residential space when there are hundreds of people alive and struggling to find a place to provide a shelter for their family?”.
The year-long rage and frustration bottled up inside Radhika could be felt as her words reflected the gruesome consequences of the caste-based system in Nepal. The caste system in Nepal has brought a tremendous loss of respect, integrity, and acceptance for lower caste people. But the unity of the Badi Community paved the way for them to secure their land rights.
By forming a partnership with Habitat for Humanity Nepal, Radhika Rana was finally able to attain her own land. On this land, she was able to build a safe home for her family. A place of love, hopes, and dreams. It’s a victory for Radhika and the present members of the Badi Community and the generations to come.
Securing the land rights and a safe space has allowed families from the Badi community to raise their children in an environment filled with love, protection, security, and belongingness. As a result, these children can chase their dreams to create a better future for themselves, which would not have been possible otherwise. With a smile on her face, Radhika shared;
‘Everything is possible when you believe in yourself and when you don’t give up on your dreams.’
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