I Visited a School Today

I visited a school today.

A school located about two hours outside of Hyderabad. A village school.

This school has 350 students, 10 staff, 10 classrooms, three dogs, and one watchman who rings bells and dispenses smiles.

But numbers can’t tell the story of this school.

This is a school where students walk as many as 7 kilometers each way in all kinds of weather just so they can learn.

This is a school where most children are so malnourished that they need supplemental protein with the lunches they bring from home.

This is a school where parents are forced to leave very young children on their own while they work as day laborers.

But those things can’t tell the story of this school either.

Because this is a school where the manager kills 4-foot-long cobras in the schoolyard because that’s what needs to be done.

This is a school where teachers not only educate, but model respect, dignity, and grace.

This is a school where children ooze joy. And pride. And hope.

Yes, this is a school. But it is much, much more.

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Two Options, Same Outcomes

A few months ago, the DFN team had a brainstorm. We thought, “What would it look like if we offered our fantastic partners more options to fund a Dalit child’s education? Traditional child sponsorship is great, but it’s probably not a fit for everyone who wants to make a difference.”

So in early 2015, we launched a brand new way to be involved: scholarships. Of course, having a different option always creates questions.

  • How does it work?
  • What is the difference between scholarshipping a child and sponsoring a child?
  • Do the funds go to the same place?
  • What are the benefits to each?
  • And probably most important … How do I know which is right for me?

To answer these questions, we have created a side-by-side comparison of sponsorships and scholarships. And here it is!

Sponsorship Vs Scholarship (5)

 

It doesn’t matter which you choose.The child receives the same education, the same curriculum, the same resources, attends the same schools, and is taught by the same teachers – it’s just that the funding is a bit different.

For some, scholarships fit your needs and resources best; for others, especially those who wish to invest in a relationship with one particular child (or children), sponsorship is the right choice.

One of the main things to keep in mind is that it takes $360 to fully fund each child’s education for one year. Compare that to the U.S. cost of $11,332 per student in public elementary and secondary schools (according to the National Center for Education Statistics for 2010-11, the latest year statistics are available.) Wow, that’s a bargain.

The other thing to note is that if you choose scholarship, more of your donation goes directly to fund the child’s education because the administrative costs are lower. Sending annual reports and managing correspondence for individual children is more labor intensive.

Even though it costs more to manage, DFN has no plans to discontinue child sponsorship because that is the right option for many of our partners.

As we wind down our annual Fresh Start campaign which ends on August 31, our hope is that you will help fund the education that can help make dreams a reality for thousands of Dalit children and their families. This is a great time to be involved because your donations are doubled at this time of year. That’s an opportunity too good to pass up.

Thanks for your partnership and for standing with the Dalits of India. You are appreciated!

 

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