Speak Up through #GivingTuesday

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

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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!

At-Risk Girls and Women Discover Rescue is Real

These beautiful girls were rag pickers.

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Up at 4:30 a.m. and out of the house by 5, three girls in Bangalore climb through dumpsters and walk the streets looking for bits of paper and plastic they can turn into a few rupees. Exposed to filth and toxins, they cover their faces with rags and their eyes sting as they go about their work. The stench is sometimes overwhelming, the heat almost unbearable.

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At the end of the day, home is little refuge. Living conditions are miserable and their fathers are either absent or addicted to alcohol. Their mothers have no education and no vocational skills.

It was altogether a bleak life. But not any more.

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Today, these three girls describe their former life as “a living hell.” In their slum, most of the girls earn income by garbage collection, begging, petty theft or prostitution.

But these three have a brighter future. And so do their mothers.

Because of your support of our women’s shelters, these girls are safe. They are getting an education. They have dreams for their future. And their mothers have access to training programs. Cosmetology, tailoring, computers, English language conversational skills. These are the tools that hold the keys to a better life.

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Now these girls describe their lives with words like “safety,” “gratitude,” even “love.”

What a difference a little bit of love makes.

If you want to make a difference, please consider giving today. Any amount will make an impact on a girl or a woman. Just write “girls and women” in the comments field when you give.
 To help others understand what life is like for a great many people in India, please share this post using the links at the bottom of the page.

Meet Advik

Fresh Face, Fresh Start: Advik

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Exactly one year ago, 7-year-old Advik* was nervous. It was the first day of school, and as he put on his new uniform and gathered his supplies, he worried. “Will people like me? Will my teacher be nice? Will I do well in my classes? Is this year going to be different?”

He had reason to be anxious. It was his very first day at his new Good Shepherd School located in Odisha state. His father had decided to transfer Advik from the local government-run school where he didn’t excel academically and didn’t feel like anyone cared about him. He even felt afraid.

That day, Advik joined 64 other students who were brand new to the school, each with their own fears and expectations. Over the next 10 months, all 184 students and 13 staff learned, laughed, grew, and formed a community. A community that fosters hope. Dignity. Independence. One that encourages dreams. One that treats all students as equals.

This year, Advik goes back to school confident and secure. He says, “My new school makes me very happy, and I am not afraid anymore. I like my teachers and my friends, and I like to learn English.” Advik has a dream of becoming a police officer so he can serve his nation.

This is what attending a Good Shepherd School can do for a child. Each school not only provides a quality, accredited English-medium education, it fosters an environment and atmosphere free of discrimination where children can flourish because they know they are cared for. They know they are equal. They know they are valuable.

But the need is great. Of the 184 students in this school, only 15% have the cost of their education funded through a scholarship or sponsorship. 15%!

As we near the end of our 10,000 Reasons to Give a Fresh Start initiative, would you consider helping increase that number? It’s not just Advik’s school that needs help. Across India, nearly half of the 27,000 students who attend a Good Shepherd School do not have their education funded yet. And in the 2015-16 academic year, we anticipate 3,000 new admissions! More students means more opportunity for us, and more need.

This is a perfect time to get involved, because every dollar you give during the Fresh Start emphasis
will be matched once the funds reach India. Please help Advik and the other 156 students at his school
who do not have their education funded. They need you to help them make their dreams come true.

More About Advik’s School

Help Fund A Child’s Education

*name changed to protect privacy and security

Dalit Graduates | Hope for a new generation.

When the DFN team traveled to India earlier this year, we had the privilege of meeting several groups of graduates at the schools we visited. What a joy to hear about their hopes and dreams, their plans and aspirations for the future! What a contrast to what their lives could have been as Dalits, subject to bonded labor, trafficking, and a life of poverty.

Graduating from an accredited, high-quality English medium school has given these students a whole new world to explore. Doors are open for them and unlimited opportunities are now a reality. Most students who graduate from a Good Shepherd School continue their education in a junior college for two years before choosing a university and complete the path to a profession of their choice. Imagine! Young men and women who could have been trapped in a cycle of oppression and poverty can now actually choose a career, something most of us in the U.S. take for granted.

We met boys who want to be engineers, software programmers, or teachers, and we met boys who want to join the military. We met girls who want to be doctors, nurses, teachers, engineers, and computer programmers. The list of aspirations could go on and on.

Seeing these grads’ eyes light up and sparkle with anticipation while we listened to their plans and dreams brought tears to our eyes. And what made the experience so very special was to realize the impact DFN’s supporters have on individual lives. We are so grateful and humbled to be facilitating this work.

But the impact extends far beyond individual lives. The ripple effect is extraordinary. There are Dalit graduates who are now teaching in the very schools they attended. There are graduates, now professionally trained, who come back to serve in the villages where they grew up. This is how community transformation happens.

Following are some PORTRAITS OF HOPE  – Graduates ready to take the next step into their dreams and careers. We hope you enjoy!

 

 

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More graduates in their finery:

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