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Dhobi (Hindu traditions) in Sri Lanka

Dhobi (Hindu traditions)

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Dhobi (Hindu traditions) in Sri Lanka map
Population [2] Language Religion % Christian % Evangl Online NT Jesus Film Progress
11,000 Tamil Hinduism 1.22 % Unknown   

Dhobi (Hindu traditions) in Sri Lanka

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Introduction / History
The Dhobis of South Asia are a fairly large people group of approximately 15 million who live in South Central Asia. The majority of Dhobis are Hindus. Smaller groups are Muslims and Sikhs. The Hindu Dhobis live in five nations including Sri Lanka. Traditionally, the Dhobis have been washers of clothes. As more and more upper caste South Asians purshase washing machines, the Dhobis' livelihood is disappearing. Upper caste Hindus look down on the Dhobis. In the rigid Hindu caste system, young Dhobis could only follow in the occupation of their parents. Most Dhobis are unable to read and write. Today, as the Dhobis are becoming more educated, they are gaining new job skills so they can begin to escape their cycle of poverty.

The main language of the Sri Lankan Dhobis is Tamil. Many Christian resources, including the whole Bible, are available in Tamil. Only a tiny fraction of the Sri Lankan Dhobis is Christians.

Where are they located?
The vast majority of Hindu Dhobis live in India, Bangladesh and Nepal. A small fraction of the Hindu Dhobis lives in Sri Lanka. Most of the Dhobis reside in the Central, Uva and Sabaragamuva states of Sri Lanka.

What are their lives like?
The vast majority of the Sri Lankan Dhobis live at the poverty level. The small amount of money they receive for washing and ironing clothes provides barely enough money for them to buy rice and vegetables. They are not vegetarians but can buy meat only for special occasions. As Hindus, they will not eat beef.

When a Dhobi girl marries, her dowry usually contains just a few items, but almost always an iron for her to iron clothes. After the men wash the customers' clothes, the women iron them and keep the money they earn to pay for household expenses. Mothers teach the girls to iron at an early age, and boys help their fathers by washing the smaller articles of clothing and by delivering packages of clean clothes to their owners. Families arrange marriages. Sons inherit what little property the Dhobi father has.

What are their beliefs?
Most of the Dhobis are Hindus, the ancient and dominant religion of the Indian subcontinent. The Dhobis mix their Hinduism with folk religion. The Dhobis wear charms to protect themselves from evil spirits. Each morning the Dhobi man bows and says a prayer to the washing stone he uses on the riverbank where he washes clothes. The Dhobis are frequently denied entrance to Hindu temples so they have their own shrines and priests. Hindus believe that by performing rituals and good works that they will attain moksha or freedom from the endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. The Dhobis visit shrines and offer prayers, food, flowers and incense to their gods. There are many forms of Hinduism, each with its own deities and beliefs.
The main yearly holidays of the Dhobis people are Holi, the festival of colors, Diwali, the festival of lights, Navratri, the celebration of autumn and Rama Navami, Rama's birthday.

What are their needs?
The Dhobis of Sri Lanka have tremendous spiritual and physical needs. Their children need to learn how to read and write. The adults need to learn new job skills. The Dhobis need access to modern medical care and modern conveniences like electricity and indoor plumbing. Most of all, they need to hear and understand the life-changing message or Jesus Christ. Only Jesus can set the Dhobis free from their sins and give them hope of eternal life.

Prayer Points
Pray for the Holy Spirit to give the Hindu Dhobi people teachable and understanding hearts.
Pray that a strong movement of the Holy Spirit will bring entire Dhobi families into a rich experience of God's blessing.
Pray for believers to reach out and share the good news of Christ with the Dhobis.
Pray for teams of believers to do sustained, focused prayer for the Lord to open the hearts of Dhobi family leaders to experience God's blessing through a movement of family-based discovery Bible studies.


View Dhobi (Hindu traditions) in all countries.

Prayer Links
Global Prayer Digest: 2010-09-24
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Country: Sri Lanka
Continent: Asia
Region: Asia, South
10/40 Window: Yes
Population in Country:11,000
Largest Provinces:
Central (6,500)Uva (2,300)
Sabaragamuwa (1,300)Western (400)
Southern (200)Eastern (70)
Northern (30)
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Country Map:Political map
Linguistic Map:Ethnologue language map
  Peoples [3]
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People Name in Country: Dhobi (Hindu traditions)
People Name General: Dhobi (Hindu traditions)
Alternate People Names:
Chasa DhobaChauhan-Bhatti
ROP3 Code: 111944
Joshua Project People ID: 16709
Indigenous: Yes
Population in Country: 11,000
Population all Countries: 12,878,000
Least-Reached: Yes
Affinity Bloc: South Asian Peoples
People Cluster: South Asia Hindu - other
People Name General: Dhobi (Hindu traditions)
Ethnic Code: CNN25
Ethnic Relationships: Affinity Bloc -> People Cluster -> Peoples Ethnicity Tree
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Primary Language: Tamil (11,000 Speakers)
Language Code (ISO): tam    Ethnologue Listing
Total Languages: 1
Religion [4]
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Primary Religion: Hinduism
Major Religions:
Buddhism0.00 % 
Christianity1.22 %(Evangelical: Data not available)
Ethnic Religions0.00 % 
Hinduism98.78 % 
Islam0.00 % 
Non-Religious0.00 % 
Other / Small0.00 % 
Unknown0.00 % 
Christianity Segments:
Anglican0.00 %
Independent0.00 %
Protestant0.00 %
Orthodox0.00 %
Other Christian0.00 %
Roman Catholic0.00 %
(Evangelicals distributed across Christianity segments)
Progress Indicators [5]
Progress Scale[6]   Few evangelicals and few who claim to be Christians. Little, if any, history of Christianity.
Least-Reached: Yes
Bible Translation Status
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Bible Portions: 1714-1956
New Testament:
Complete Bible: 1727-2021
Possible Bible Sources: Forum of Bible Agencies
 World Bible Finder
 World Christian Resource Directory
 Gospel Go
Ministry Resources [7]
Audio RecordingsMegaVoice Audio Bible and Stories
Audio RecordingsAudio Bible teaching
Audio RecordingsGeneral Ministry Resources
Audio RecordingsLove letter to you from scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline Audio Scripture
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsOnline New Testament
Audio RecordingsRecorded oral Bible
Audio RecordingsStory of Jesus audio
Film / VideoFollowing Jesus video
Film / VideoGod's Story video
Film / Video / Animation
Film / VideoJesus Film: view in Tamil
Film / VideoLUMO film of Gospels
Film / VideoMagdalena video
Film / VideoMy Last Day video, anime
Film / VideoStory of Jesus for Children
Film / VideoWorld Christian Videos
GeneralBible for Children
GeneralBiblical answers to your questions
GeneralComprehensive list of Tamil Resources
GeneralGospel resources links
GeneralGospel website in this language
GeneralZume Resources
GeneralZume Training
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app as APK file
Mobile AppDownload audio Bible app from Google Pla ...
Mobile AppDownload Bible from Google Play Store
Text / Printed MatterBible: Tamil
Text / Printed MatterChildren and youth resources
Text / Printed MatterLiteracy primer for Tamil
Text / Printed MatterOnline New Testament (Bibles India)
Text / Printed MatterTools for faith conversations
Text / Printed MatterTopical Scripture booklets and Bible stu ...
Ministry Activity
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Data Notes
Data Sources

Dhobi (Hindu traditions) in Sri Lanka

Global                 Global
  Affinity Bloc             Global  
People Cluster
    South Asia Hindu - other     Asia, South    
      Dhobi (Hindu traditions) Sri Lanka    
            People-by-Country (Profile)          
            Dhobi (Hindu traditions) in Sri Lanka          
      Religion Language  
      Hinduism     Tamil  
    All Religions                              

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