The Darnal Award for Social Justice was established in 2013 by Sarita Pariyar Trust Fund (SPTF), a New York-based private trust fund. The SPTF manages the Award in partnership with Jagaran Media Center (JMC), which seeks to ensure the rights of Dalits through its work in journalism and policy advocacy. SPTF will provide funds to JMC for the overall operation and management of the Award Ceremony. JMC is a non-profit, non-governmental organization founded in 2000 by a group of journalists and activists under the leadership of Suvash Darnal and Rem Bahadur B.K. Tomata. It has played a key role in pushing the Dalit issue to the forefront of Nepal’s national agenda. As one of the first organizations that Suvash Darnal helped establish, JMC embodies his vision and zeal. JMC has also established the annual Suvash Darnal Jagaran National Award for Journalism for leading journalists working to end caste-based discrimination and untouchability.
Many organizations have provided invaluable support in designing and managing the Award.
Samata Foundation is a profit-not-sharing organization established in 2009. It carries out research and advocacy for the rights of marginalized people. The Foundation believes that real change can only be brought about by building a critical mass of both Dalits and non-Dalits, disseminating knowledge, encouraging civic participation and preparing the Dalit youth to become leaders of the next generation. To that end, it works in different thematic areas, namely Democracy and Good governance; Dalit Human Rights; Social Inclusion; Land, Livelihood and Food Rights; and Culture, Education and Media.
Suvash Darnal Memorial Trust was founded in Nepal in 2011 by friends of Suvash Darnal, following his tragic and untimely death. The Trust seeks to continue the legacy of Suvash Darnal by supporting research and publications on Dalit issues and by honoring activists and journalists, who have helped bring Dalit issues into public consciousness. In 2012, the Trust awarded Uma Devi Badi for leading a vigorous movement for the rights of the Badi women, who are among the most disadvantaged even within the Dalit community. The following year Ganesh B.K. Deulal received an award for leading the movement of bonded tillers and Dalits in the far-western region of Nepal, while Man Bahadur Bishwokarma, former Member of Parliament was awarded posthumously for his contribution to the Dalit movement. The Trust is supported by contributions from individuals and organizations.
Collective Campaign for Peace (COCAP) is a network of 43 non-governmental organizations from 29 districts in Nepal. It aims to provide a platform for collective action for peace, human rights and justice. Suvash Darnal was one of its founding members and served as chairperson from 2006 to 2008.
Dalit NGO Federation (DNF), an umbrella organization of Dalit NGOs in Nepal, brings together efforts to eliminate caste-based discrimination and untouchability.
Central Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tribhuvan University, Nepal was founded in 1981 and is one of the largest teaching departments in the University. It has been advancing research and studies on marginalized groups from within the discipline.
Federation of Nepalese Journalists is an umbrella organization of more than 8,000 media persons working across the country.
Indian Institute of Dalit Studies (IIDS) is one of the first research organizations in India to focus on the developmental concerns of marginalized and socially excluded groups. Professor Sukhdev Thorat founding director of IIDS, was a strong supporter of Suvash Darnal’s work.
International Dalit Solidarity Network (IDSN) is a network of itnernational human rights groups, national Dalit Solidarity Networks from Europe, and National Platforms and associates in caste-affected countries, including Nepal. IDSN has worked for over a secade on a global level for the elimination of caste discrimination and has a long-standing association with the Samata Foundation.
National Endowment for Democracy (NED) is a private, non-profit foundation dedicated to the growth and strengthening of democratic institutions around the world. Suvash Darnal was a Reagan-Fascell Democracy Fellow at NED in late 2008-2009. NED has been supporting both Samata Foundation and Jagaran Media Center.
Open Society Foundation, works to build vibrant and tolerant societies whose governments are accountable and open to the participation of all people. Open Society has been providing institutional support to Samata Foundation and Jagaran Media Center.
The Department of Political Science at Western Michigan University, USA has supported research and studies in Nepal. Professor Mahendra Lawoti, who teaches in the department has produced many works on democratization, ethnic politics and social movements in Nepal.
The India China Institute, based at The New School in New York has worked with Samata Foundation, Jagaran Media Center and other organizations to support Dalit rights, social justice and inclusive democracy in Nepal.
Photo: Discussion with volunteers at COCAP, Kathmandu, 2010