Dalit Empowerment Centre (DSK)
Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), a joint initiative of Navsarjan and Janvikas, is located in Village Nani Devti, about 30 kilometers from Ahmedabad, Gujarat. It was founded in July 1999, and was given its current name in 2003. Several thousands of students have now completed courses at DSK.
Literally translating to "Dalit Empowerment Center", DSK is primarily a vocational training center serving economically and socially marginalized youth. However, it also provides personality development, leadership skills, social and political education, and a space for self-reflection and growth. A central part of DSK’s philosophy is a redefinition of the word "Dalit”, thereby including Dalits from various economic, social and religious backgrounds.
Most of DSK’s students are landless, and have dropped out of school to work in the labor sector. Typically, their parents are farmers. DSK mobilizes such youth for economic and social empowerment—helping them leave the cycle of agricultural labor and caste-based occupations—and simultaneously fosters better grassroots leadership.
DSK offers more than 20 different courses, including tailoring (pants, shirt, blouse for sari, salwar kameez, and industrial), furniture, driving, beautician, basic computers, computer tally, secretarial training, handicrafts and decoration, electric wiring, auto mechanic, police training, mobile phone repairing, videography, photography, machinist, motor rewinding, metal fabrication and welding.
A recent study determined that in comparison to vocational training centers run by the government—many of which have courses that stretch as long as two years—graduates of DSK have a higher rate of job placement.