How is DFN different from other sponsorship organizations?
Our partner organization on the ground in India does not work with affiliate schools. Rather, they operate their own schools which ensures high quality and the holistic development needed to transform communities. The schools empower Dalit, poor, and other underprivileged children to break free from all forms of slavery and become part of the new India. The focus is on holistic transformation of the community surrounding each school. Sponsoring a child provides a support system for the entire family by developing communities physically, intellectually, socially, and spiritually. This context brings the worldview change community leaders desire for future generations.
How does sponsorship help a child in India who is at a high risk for human trafficking?
With 40% of its 1.2 billion people under the age of 18, India has the highest population of children in the world, as well as the largest number of children in poverty. Extreme poverty puts them at risk for child labor, forced labor, or bonded labor and makes them especially vulnerable to human trafficking. Nearly 30% of the students in Good Shepherd Schools have parents who are bonded laborers, a modern form of indentured servitude relatively unknown in the western world. In most poor villages in India, education is not available. Consequently there is no hope of children ever rising above the economic hardship and the limitations of their parents. As a child sponsor, you make it possible for your child to receive an English-medium education and in doing so, you invest in the freedom and future of India’s most vulnerable children.
How is the child sponsorship funding distributed?
We use a proven model allowing a one-on-one relationship between a sponsor and a student, while pooling the gifts of all sponsors who support children in the same school with long-term resources for full-life transformation. A child does not receive cash but rather the assurance that they and their family members will have full access to education, economic development, healthcare and spiritual development programming. Additionally, to give their education value, most students pay a subsidized school fee each year. The generation of these funds target long-term sustainability of the work.
What is my commitment as a sponsor?
Your generous donation is the first step to building a future for the child you sponsor. Each year students have the opportunity to write to their sponsors and you are welcome to write to them and send cards via your account on Dalit Child. Since the main goal of sponsorship is to free children by providing them with a complete education, our hope is that you will remain committed to sponsoring your child until he/she graduates from the Tenth Standard, which is the Indian equivalent to completing an American high school education. Many of our Good Shepherd Schools offer education through the Tenth Standard.
What do my child sponsorship donations cover?
Your faithful donations help cover costs for tuition, uniforms, school supplies, nutrition supplements (where necessary), textbooks, teacher salaries, and administrative costs for your child’s education. As a child sponsor, you help to provide a top-quality, English- medium, values-based education for India’s most at-risk children, and launch them toward dignity, equality, safety, and security. Not only does your sponsorship donation assist with each student’s education fees and costs, but it also strengthens the community. Each Good Shepherd School (GSS) becomes the central hub for all education, economic development, healthcare, and social justice initiatives in that specific community.
May I correspond with my sponsored child?
Yes, you may. However, due to the current political climate in India, along with the persecution happening to Christian believers, all correspondence must be done online through your sponsorship account at this time. This is for the protection of students, teachers and staff, and their families as well as for you, the sponsor. The Indian government is monitoring mail sent from foreign countries. Please note that we are unable to forward any mail sent via post.
You may send an electronic message using one of our online templates through your sponsorship account or by emailing the Child Sponsorship team directly. To access your account, please visit www.DalitChild.com and log in with the information provided on your enclosed receipt. If you prefer to send your message via email to firstname.lastname@example.org, please be sure to include your first and last name, your child’s name, your child’s code, and the date.
Will my child write me back?
Electronic correspondence is received first in DFN’s Virginia office and forwarded to our India team, who then sends your message to your child’s school where it is given to your student by a member of the staff. Many schools do not have reliable Internet access, so sometimes an e-mail can take weeks to reach your student because it first has to be printed in India, then sent via post to the school. It is then up to the student and school whether they respond. If they do, their correspondence to you is routed back through the child sponsorship team in India and then forwarded on to DFN’s office in Virginia.
All students send sponsors work samples and a greeting at least once per year. And sponsors receive annual updates on the child’s academic progress and growth.
Can I visit my child?
We would love for you to meet your child! DFN arranges organized trips to India several times each year and you are certainly welcome to participate in these. You may also arrange a visit when you are traveling for personal or business reasons. However, for safety and security purposes, both for you and your sponsored child, these visits must be pre-approved and pre-arranged through DFN and our India partners. Please e-mail us for more information.
What are the children in the Good Shepherd Schools (GSSs) being taught?
In each of our GSSs, children study a preparatory, government-approved, India-standardized curriculum, with English as the language of instruction. Without the ability to speak and write English, Dalit children will not be able to excel in Indian society. They also receive a values-based education that promotes the principles of freedom, equality, and human dignity for all. Every one of our GSSs provide education to children regardless of their class, creed, or faith.
Can I support additional projects at the school my child attends?
Yes. Donations can be designated directly to your child’s school for items such as computer stations, playground equipment, desks, chairs, the school library, and other supplies. Please visit DFN’s Campaigns page to see current giving initiatives.
What happens to my child if I am no longer able to give?
We understand that sometimes circumstances change and that you may need to cancel or suspend your donations. The donations for child sponsorships are gathered into a pool designated for specific schools. By using this approach, if you are unable to continue your sponsorship, your child will be able to remain in school and will be eligible for sponsorship again. This also allows unsponsored children to attend school. The goal, of course, is to have every child sponsored.
What if my child is no longer able to attend school?
Unfortunately, there are times when students withdraw from school. This can occur in all of our schools for a number of reasons, such as the child’s family moving too far away for the child to walk to school, or family economic needs that require a child to supplement the family income or remain at home to take care of family members. If this occurs, we will automatically assign you another deserving child in need of sponsorship and notify you of this change with an email or letter. Your sponsorship will remain active unless you notify us otherwise.
When do the GSS schools begin and end their school year?
In South India, schools start in the month of June and finish in the end of March or beginning of April. In North India, schools open in the middle of June or beginning of July and end in the middle of May.
If you have other questions, a member of our child sponsorship team will be happy to assist you. Please email them at email@example.com or give them a call at 757-233-9110.