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!

IMG_6179

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.

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.

LGJ0195 - Chandra Prakash

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.”

 

Screen Shot 2017-07-07 at 11.32.54 AM

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.”

 

RAM0414-Harshita Dubey (1)

 

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.

20151112-IMG_3790copy

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.

20151112-IMG_3837

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.

IMG_4690

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.

Give To Free To Be

Sponsor

2016 Impact Report

MatthewWeb

Matthew Cork, Executive Director, DFN US
Download complete report.

It was hot and sticky in South India that day. My jet lag was really kicking in, too. Groggy and tired, I peeled myself out of the van, dodged a puddle or two of who-knows-what, and headed down the alley.

Then, I heard it.  “A, B, C, D, E, F, G.” The sweet voices of 3-and-4-year old children singing the alphabet. I smiled. Here, in the middle of a slum, on a block where 40,000 people are crammed into one-room dwellings, is a shool. Your school. I breathed a prayer of thanks, opened the gate, and went inside.

Children poured out of classrooms:. “Hello, sir. How are you today?” “Thank you for visiting.” “Thank you for praying for us.” Smiles. Hugs. Handshakes and high fives for everyone. Each face so precious. So loved by God.

This, my friends, is what you do. You teach. You provide opportunity. Most of all, you love. And I just want to say thanks.

I could tell you about all the great things we did together in 2016, how much money was raised and where it went. Those things are important, vital even, for healthy organizations. That’s why I’m sharing this blog post with you.

But the most important thing—the one thing that really matters—is that each dollar given represents investment in a life. Every child in a school, every woman in a training center, every life damaged by abuse but now being restored, has incredible potential to change the world for good. And that’s an investment worth making.

I am so grateful for you. As we enter 2017, DFN’s 15th anniversary year, I have never been more excited about the future. Thanks, my friends, for making this journey with us!

Financials

Download complete report.

Give Now

Speak Up By Sponsoring a Child

The Ultimate Way to Speak Up

The most powerful tool against poverty is education because it unlocks potential. Through education, a child discovers the freedom to hope, to dream, to rise above their current circumstances. And, they have the skills that enable them to go to college, get jobs, and break free from the cycle of poverty.

Search For Your Child

 Bondugula_Web-10

When you sponsor a child through Dalit Freedom Network you are part of a global movement to free the most vulnerable children in India. Your sponsorship, combined with compassionate donations from individuals and organizations around the world, address the root causes of poverty and discrimination among the Dalits and other marginalized groups. Together, this is a catalyst that transforms entire communities.

Your $30 monthly sponsorship provides:
  1. A one-to-one relationship with your child, who receives a high quality English-medium education in a safe, loving environment with government-approved curriculum and fully qualified teachers.
  2. Access to healthcare services for students and their families, and supplemental nutrition where needed.
  3. Assurance that students’ family members have access to the full range of economic development opportunities provided through our Indian partner.

Begin Your Sponsorship


Sponsorship FAQs


 Student Stories

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

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

Kids Are Kids

Kids laugh, kids act silly, kids play sports, kids wave, kids show off, and kids play.

Sometimes when we think of the challenges and difficulties many Dalit kids face, we forget one of the most important things: they are still kids! And kids should be able to play!

So we hope this episode of our video series, “A Look Inside” brings a smile to your face and reminds you of some of your own happy childhood memories. Enjoy kids at play and say a word of thanks that these kids actually can play. That they’re not working in a field or a factory and that they are safe from traffickers because they have the opportunity to go to school.

For Dalit kids, play is a privilege, and we’re grateful to have a hand in allowing Dalit kids to be kids!