Fatima Burnad is the founder and president of the Society for Rural Education and Development (SRED), and has been working among the Dalit (untouchable) community in India for the past 35 years. She has become a national leader in the social movement seeking greater economic opportunity and political influence for these largely landless and poor people and has been especially active in organizing Dalit women. SRED, under her leadership, documents human rights abuses and trains Dalit women on their legal rights and how to document these abuses and campaign on their own behalf. This work puts Ms. Burnad at great personal risk as she is frequently working in direct opposition to police and other authorities. Indeed, she has been detained, arrested and threatened on several occasions. Outside India, Ms. Burnad has become an international leader in the effort to end institutionalized discrimination against the world’s most socially marginalized citizens.
To learn more about Fatima Burnad and her work, please see http://web.colby.edu/oak/2011-oak-fellow-fatima-burnad/