The Dalit Shakti Kendra (DSK), a joint initiative of two Ahmedabad-based voluntary organisations, Navsarjan Trust and, is located in Village Nani Devti, about 30 kilometers from Ahmedabad, Gujarat, India. It was founded in July 1999, and was given its current name in 2003. Literally translating to “Dalit Empowerment Centre”, the DSK is primarily a vocational training centre serving economically and socially marginalized youth. Several thousand students have completed courses at the DSK.
However, the DSK also provides personality development, leadership skills, social and political education, and a space for self-reflection and growth. A central part of the DSK’s philosophy is a redefinition of the word “Dalit”, thereby including Dalits from various economic, social and religious backgrounds.
Most of the DSK’s students are landless, and have dropped out of school to work in the labour sector. Typically, their parents are farmers. The DSK mobilizes such youth for economic and social empowerment — helping them leave the cycle of agricultural labour 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.