Traditional approaches to development have not proved equal to the task of ensuring a just society, especially for the most socially, economically, and psychologically oppressed peoples. The unique individuals and groups introduced in this book recognize that a qualitative and sustainable improvement in the lives of the most downtrodden¾those battling discrimination by gender, class, or caste¾can be achieved only when the root causes of their oppression are addressed, not just its symptoms. Not only have these leaders and their organizations found strikingly effective and innovative ways by which people may secure their human and civil rights and realign power relations in society; they have also enabled the marginalized poor to pursue their own interests and their own struggles for justice and equality.
Empowering the Oppressed offers highly readable accounts, lessons learned, and analysis from India that should be applicable in many settings around the world where injustice prevails. The book also analyzes the implications for foreign donors, who are often chary of supporting empowerment activities, and shows by example both how such aid is effectively given and how critical it is to successful development outcomes.