Speak Up through #GivingTuesday

Speak Up this #GivingTuesday by Giving a Dalit Child a New School Uniform

IMG_7573 (1)

Give A Uniform for $25

Most Dalit children live in extreme poverty. Their families often struggle to provide basic needs, including clothing. In India, wearing a school uniform is nearly universally mandatory, including in Good Shepherd Schools. Sponsored children have their uniform provided through sponsorship donations, but there are about 14,000 students of the 26,000 enrolled in Good Shepherd Schools who are not sponsored yet. These kids need uniforms, too!

So when our team was planning what to do for #GivingTuesday this year we thought, “What about uniforms?” Besides students who aren’t sponsored yet, there are students who have outgrown their uniforms and need new, larger ones. And as anyone who has ever had a child in school knows, sometimes clothing just wears out!

It only takes $25 to purchase a new uniform.
This is an easy way to speak up for a child who needs you.

What’s Giving Tuesday?

#GivingTuesday is a global day of giving fueled by the power of social media and collaboration. Celebrated on the Tuesday following Thanksgiving (in the U.S.) and the widely recognized shopping events Black Friday and Cyber Monday, #GivingTuesday kicks off the charitable season, when many focus on their holiday and end-of-year giving. This year, November 29 is that day.

The Challenge & How You Can Help

It’s so simple to get involved. All you need to do is buy a uniform (Or two. Or ten!) Each uniform costs only 25.00, and you can purchase one here. Our goal is to provide a minimum of 250 uniforms between now and November 29. But we’d like to blow that goal out of the water. And we can, with your help.

Do I Have To Wait Until #GivingTuesday to Purchase a Uniform?

No! You can speak up by buying a uniform right now, and we thank you for your commitment to being a voice for Dalit children.

Buy a Uniform Now

How Else Can I Speak Up?

Tell people about this! Share the opportunity on Facebook and Twitter! Share this blog post using the links at the bottom of this page.

If you have any questions about the way this works, please e-mail us at info@dalitnetwork.org. We’ll answer your question right away!

Working to Eliminate Poverty

The Goal Is Community Transformation

20150222-IMG_1057

Six-year-old Raja wakes up each day around 4:00 a.m. He eats a hurried and scant breakfast of rice with a few lentils, carries water from the slum’s lone spigot to his mother, and by 5:00 a.m. is making the 3-mile trek on foot to his job at the fireworks factory. All day Raja toils, stuffing gunpowder into tiny tubes, dangerous and dirty work. He’s looking forward to Diwali, the Hindu festival of lights, where he knows people will enjoy lighting the firecrackers he has made. He hopes his boss will give him a few free firecrackers so he can have some fun during the festival.

After an 11-hour workday, Raja journeys back to his family’s makeshift hut to rejoin his family. His father and older sister are day laborers in an agricultural field nearby, and they won’t arrive home for another couple of hours. His mother has been busy all day taking care of Raja’s baby brother and their elderly grandparents. All of them are hungry and there’s just not enough food to go around.

After a meal of more lentils and chapati (a type of bread), Raja is tired. He heads to his mat to sleep, knowing that tomorrow will be the same as today. He can picture no other life.

Raja is a Dalit. There are an estimated 250 million Dalits in India and about two thirds of them live in extreme poverty. They are at the bottom rung of society, considered “untouchable” by many. These are the people DFN serves.

To commemorate International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, we want to shed light and be hope because all over India, communities are rising up and being transformed from the inside out.

It begins with children, and education is the catalyst. The 107 schools we support form the foundation for community transformation.

But that’s not the only thing we stand for. We desire to serve the entire person, no matter the age, in a process we call the Community Transformation Model.

Community Transformation Model

Since many Dalits actually believe they are less than human, changing this belief demands a re-visioning of society. In recent years the Indian government has sought to address discrimination against Dalits by passing new laws and initiatives. These efforts are making a difference; however, Dalits still need others to come alongside them. So that’s what we do through our education, healthcare, anti-trafficking, and economic empowerment programs.

We believe eradication of poverty is possible when people have the tools and opportunity to create secure futures for themselves and their families. So that’s why DFN stands with the Dalit people. We invite you to do the same.

Want to help? Here are two ways you can make a difference today!

Sponsor a Child

Give to Education

New Skills Equals New Hope for Women

New Skills Equals New Hope for Women

Rama

Rama, age 30, came to a Good Shepherd vocational training center in a tough situation. As a young child, she suffered an illness that left her with motor difficulties. With three young children and a husband who works for daily wages, her family’s living conditions were poor. It was a challenge to put enough food on the table for two meals each day.

But Rama persevered.

Getting to her vocational classes was difficult, but her family took extra steps to make sure Rama attended the stitching and embroidery classes offered at the center. To Rama and her family’s delight, she discovered she was very good at fine needlework. Her self esteem soared!

Rama, along with 41 other women, recently graduated with certificates in tailoring and embroidery. Now they have a marketable skill that can help their families earn enough income to provide for their families.

Graduation

“I am so grateful to Good Shepherd for this chance to make a better life. Thank you! My life is richer because of this vocational center, and I’m excited about my family’s future now,” Rama said.

The director of this center tells us that Dalit women and girls remain trapped in a cycle of poverty because of a lack of education and skill building opportunities. Many young girls are pulled out of school to take over household responsibilities and never develop the required skills to enter the job market with confidence.

This is why community based vocational training is such a powerful tool. By making the destitute financially self-reliant, it breaks the cycle of poverty, breeds confidence, self-respect and turns marginalized youth into productive and responsible citizens. Teaching women a marketable skill is possibly the single most effective program for the empowerment of women, and it enables them to chart their own destinies.

Vocational Training Graduates

Vocational Training Graduates

The director said, “When a girl from the slums or village walks back home with the ability to attain a better socio-economic life, it does more to improve the perception of the girl child among her neighbors than a hundred lectures and a million pamphlets.”

Thanks to generous supporters of women through Dalit Freedom Network, Rama and hundreds of other women can be proud of their hard work, their new skills, and can move through their lives with new hope.

Please, make a difference for a woman like Rama today. It takes just $100 to get one woman on the road to a brighter future, but any amount you give will have a significant impact!

Give Now

Teachers Are Our Favorite

Everyone has a favorite teacher, right?

Or at least one who was influential, one who challenged you, made you think, or opened new horizons to you. As the bumper sticker says, “If you can read this, thank a teacher!” That might be a cliche, but it’s also true.

October 5, is World Teacher’s Day, the day the United Nations’ Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has set aside to honor teachers, and we are so glad they did.

Because teachers are our favorite!

Check out this video UNESCO created to celebrate the teachers in our lives – past and present.

At DFN, we want to honor teachers as well. There are nearly 1,300 teachers giving themselves to Dalit and other marginalized children in our 107 Good Shepherd Schools. Each one has a unique story, a unique calling, and a unique opportunity to impact children’s lives. Here’s a teacher we think you’d like to meet.

IMG_1210

Her name is Saroja.

Saroja’s* father left her family when she was just a child. With no quiet place to study and suffering from malnutrition, she lacked the stamina to study for extended periods of time. However, she persevered and graduated from a Good Shepherd School that DFN supports. Her heart’s desire was to become a teacher.

But just when she thought things were looking up, the bottom fell out.

She was unable to afford the tuition for higher education. Although she wanted nothing more than to become a teacher, it seemed unlikely she would get the education she needed to fulfill her dream. So, she went to work as a clerk to help support her family instead.

Then, a miracle happened.

At a Good Shepherd School alumni event in 2012, leaders saw Saroja’s potential and decided to sponsor her university education. She immediately enrolled in teacher’s training and graduated with honors.

Now, Saroja is a teacher at the same Good Shepherd School where she received her high school diploma.

Her greatest joy is looking for students just like she was. Students who need an extra dose of love, motivation, and care.

In celebration of World Teachers’ Day and to say thanks to the teachers in your life, we hope you’ll consider supporting a teacher in India.


It takes just $100 to provide ongoing training and professional development
but any amount is appreciated!

Give $100

Give Any Amount

 *identity changed for privacy and security