A Family’s Gratitude

Your Gifts to Education Impact Entire Families

Now through the end of 2017, all gifts to education are matched dollar for dollar. Double your impact and give today!

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Retesh is only four years old, but he’s already known his share of hardships.

Most Indian children begin their formal schooling at age three. Last year, Retesh attended a local anganwadi. An anganwadi is a form of early childhood education and family support provided by the Indian government as part of a movement to improve child health and nutrition. Many anganwadis serve children well. Unfortunately, Retesh’s experience wasn’t a positive one. He came home each day anxious and upset. His parents had to do something!

They heard about the Good Shepherd School in their area and decided to transfer Retesh this year. Now, he is active and cheerful. He has many friends and is thriving under the care of loving teachers. With shy smiles and giggles, he is learning the English alphabet, basic math concepts, colors, and shapes.

Retesh’s parents, who earn a small income making and selling handicrafts, are grateful. They said, “We are so happy with this Good Shepherd School. Retesh can’t wait to go to school each day, and we know he is getting a good education as well as being treated with love.”

Your gifts to education mean the world to families like Retesh’s. Thank you so much for making a difference!

Now through the end of 2017, your gifts will go twice as far, because all education gifts are matched by a generous donor. There has never been a better time to give!

 

Give to Education Now

 

PS: There is a HUGE need for child sponsors at Retesh’s school. To sponsor, go here and select “Daringbadi” in the search to see available children in this school.

An Accidental Mission

A Music Teacher from Pennsylvania Tells Her India Story

My first trip to India was unplanned, a last minute opportunity.  In 2011 our church had a summer trip planned, but I knew nothing about it. Six weeks before the trip departure, a team member dropped out, and I was asked to fill in because I was a teacher. I already owned a passport, so I quickly got my shots and jumped into training with the team. 

I had been on church trips in the past, and I have traveled to many countries for leisure, but this trip was different. For some reason, God broke my heart for India.  As a teacher, I saw the difference that the children’s English education would make in the trajectory of each child’s life. A multitude of jobs and opportunities would be available to them because of their education and additional English skills. In India, the parents will eventually live with their adult son, so I knew the increased job opportunities these children would have would positively affect the entire family.

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In addition to seeing and understanding the educational and spiritual benefits these children receive, I simply fell in love with the students.  Despite language barriers and cultural differences, I observed that children are the same around the world. In any classroom, you can pick out the class clown or the shy student. As an educator, I felt my heart connect with these students, teachers, and administrators. As I left the school for the first time, I felt like I was not saying good-bye forever, but “See you later”, knowing I would return someday.

In the summer of 2013, my husband and I brought a group of high school upperclassmen to India. We had an amazing time serving the school, doing songs, games, crafts, science experiments, and stories. During this second trip, I built a stronger relationship with the principal of the school.  Because I had completed my Pennsylvania principal’s certification training, we shared a common bond. One day during the visit, I sat in her office and asked her to dream financially about what she would love to see for their school. One of the dreams was a computer lab with a Smartboard that the entire school could use. Other schools in the area had a Smartboard, but their school could not afford one. Right before we left for India, my husband’s grandfather died, and soon after we returned we received a small inheritance. We learned that the amount would exactly cover the cost of four computers and a Smartboard, just what the school needed! We also rejoiced to see the principal’s dream of a computer lab come true. 

On my next trip in 2014, I provided training to the teachers and students on how to use the Smartboard. It was rewarding to use my talents as an educator to bless a school on the other side of the world.

This past summer I was able to bring my high school daughter along with me to the school. It was so rewarding to have her see for herself the many experiences I had described to her over the years.  As we were winding down our days at the school, she said words that warmed my mother’s heart, “I don’t want to leave.”  I was delighted that my daughter had also gained a heart for India.

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When I picked out my first two children to sponsor seven years ago, I would have never guessed it would have led to this adventurous journey.  I have wondered “How could God use a simple teacher to make a difference in India?”  We pray for our sponsored children regularly, and now we pray very specifically because our family’s visits have allowed us to know the children, the faculty, and the exact needs of the school.  I have a connection to India which I know only God could have created in my heart, and I look forward to seeing the future opportunities to assist this school with our prayers, donations, and future visits. 

You can make a difference in a child’s life through child sponsorship. More info here.

Three Graduates with Bright Futures

Thanks for Changing Lives

The 571 2017 graduates from Good Shepherd Schools are spending the summer preparing for the next chapter of their lives, and for most of them, that means furthering their education.

Each graduate represents a unique story, a family changed, a destiny altered, and a future that is bright. We thought you might like to meet three of these up-and-coming world changers.

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Chandra was more fortunate than many Dalit young men. He was able to study from lower kindergarten all the way through Grade 10 (US high school equivalency) at his Good Shepherd School. He comes from an extremely poor and marginalized ancestral group and his parents struggled to provide for the family’s daily needs. But the school was able to assist in this as well. Chandra’s father was hired by the school to run errands and this substantially increased the family’s standard of living. Chandra and his parents are grateful for the support from DFN. They say that without it, Chandra would be facing a much more difficult future. Although Chandra is unsure of his long-term career plans, he will enter college this fall. He said, “I have big dreams, and I know continuing my education is the best way to achieve them. Thank you for helping me get this far in my studies. Please pray for me as I decide what is next for me.”

 

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Ritu is a spitfire and an absolutely brilliant student. Her teachers said, “She was at the top of her class from kindergarten all the way through Grade 10!” Like nearly all students in Good Shepherd Schools, Ritu comes from a marginalized group living in extreme poverty. Her determination to succeed never wavered though. She loves technology and plans to study mathematics and physical science in college. Without the quality education she received at her Good Shepherd School, Ritu’s future would likely look very different. Ritu says, “I know I am so fortunate to have had the guidance and support from my parents, my teachers, and everyone who contributes to the school financially. I just want to say thank you for helping make my dreams come true. I will work hard in my future studies so that I can make a difference to others.”

 

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Harshita loves people. And she is one of the rare few who enjoys public speaking. Of all the students in her school, she was selected to present from the stage during school programs. She even won an opportunity to be a host on an FM radio station. Now, Harshita plans to study communications in college so she can further develop her talent. “I am thankful for the opportunity to represent Good Shepherd Schools in the next phase of my education. Thank you so much for supporting the schools so that I was able to graduate. Please pray for me and my family!”

These three amazing young people are representative of the caliber of the class of 2017. Like young people everywhere, they are full of life, optimism, energy, and hope for the future. Thanks for making it possible for them to achieve the milestone of high school graduation!

There are many other children just like these kids who still need your help.
You can sponsor a child for just $33 per month or give a one-time or recurring gift.

Thanks for being a part of changing lives. Your investment creates a legacy!

Free To Be … A Student

Although summer is just beginning here in the United States, in India it’s back to school time.

Students in the 107 Good Shepherd Schools DFN supports are almost ready for a brand new year. Backpacks are being filled, uniforms are being purchased, and teachers are preparing to have full classrooms once again.

Jassica is 11 years of age.

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She is one of those 26,000 students in India who are ready for the new year. Wide-eyed with curiosity, interested in art and folk dancing, she is thankful to be in school again this year. It wasn’t that long ago when she thought she might never be able to go back.

You see, Jassica’s mother became overwhelmed with the difficulties of living in extreme poverty and decided she would leave her family, abandoning Jassica’s father and siblings. It’s a sad story, but a common one. Often when a parent decides to leave the family, the older children must go to work to help supplement the family income.

Although Jassica’s father is uneducated, fortunately he believes in the power of education, the freedom it offers.

So in the midst of his grief, he packed up his little family and moved into his mother’s home. Each day he journeys to the village square and seeks that day’s work. If he finds work at all, it’s usually lifting and loading cargo onto trucks for transport. It’s exhausting and physically demanding work, and the wages are very low.

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He’s satisfied though. He knows his own sacrifice means his girls can have a brighter future. He’s grateful to his mother for caring for the girls while he works. And he’s grateful to the Good Shepherd School in his area.

Jassica’s life could have been very different. Instead of preparing to go back to school this year, she could be working in a factory, or cleaning toilets in someone’s home. She could have been picking vegetables alongside her aunt. She could have been carrying rocks in a quarry.

Instead, she’s filling her backpack. And her mind.

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Thanks to supporters of Good Shepherd Schools through Dalit Freedom Network, Jassica is free to be exactly what she should be at this time in her life. She is free to be a student.

Would you consider helping another deserving child be free?

Please consider giving a one-time or recurring gift to DFN’s “Free To Be” initiative which helps facilitate all the ongoing freedom initiatives for the Dalits in India. Or sponsor an individual child. There are many children just like Jassica. Children who need you.

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