In 1993 a group of Dalit students created Pattritran out of the Dalit Students’ Association. The meaning of this Bengali word is ‘liberation' or 'salvation.’ Parittran is a promise and a movement, for the Dalits and by the Dalits.
Parittran is the first Dalit social action group in Bangladesh working for the empowerment of Dalit communities. This is a community-based organisation and network that works to secure social change and protect the rights of the Dalits. Parittran is committed towards building a strong line of leadership for the Dalit Movement. Parittran is dedicated to building the capacities of our people through:
- Progress reviews and education support
- Mass awareness campaigns
- The developing of information, education and communications materials
- The development of a video documentary film on the Dalits
- Evidence-based lobbying and advocacy
- Meetings to discuss findings on violence against Dalits
- Media campaign workshops, which are conducted periodically.
Additionally, the organisation builds skills through leadership workshops for Dalit women, as well as cluster-level meetings.
They have achieved success at the community, state, and institutional levels that indicate sustainable changes in the lives of Dalits in Bangladesh. These successes include the fact that the government revised a Dalit development policy, with an 80 per cent quota in cleaning jobs and the declaration for special quota for other unemployed Dalit youth. In addition, one per cent of students at Dhaka University are now required to be Dalit students.
The national human right commission, civil society organizations and the law commission undertook also drafted an anti-discriminatory law. There are 54 district committees of the Bangladesh Dalit Parishad (the national level Dalits' right based-independent platform). Seven divisional committees and one central committee have been developed and nurtured by Parittran.