Frequently Asked Questions

Who are the Dalits?

There 250 million Dalits in India, and they comprise the largest, most at-risk people group in the country. For more about Dalits, check out this blog entry.

Why are we helping Dalits?

Modern slavery persists in almost every country, including the United States. It’s a global problem! In India, where human trafficking is mainly internal, most of those who are trafficked or in bonded labour are from Dalit, tribal or other poor and marginalized communities. Learn how and why Dalit people face hardship.

What does DFN do?

We work to transform marginalized communities through education and opportunity. The heart of what we do is to build schools called Good Shepherd Schools (GSSs) and to sponsor kids. Through the schools, we also offer healthcare and economic empowerment initiatives for families, especially women. We also support women’s centers, especially for those who have been exploited, and a girls’ shelter for those most vulnerable to human trafficking. In addition, we help support a 40-bed hospital (currently under construction) and several AIDS clinics. For more about what we do, read this blog entry or download our Fact Sheet.

How are you different from other education or child sponsorship non-profits?

Besides our unique holistic community transformation model, Good Shepherd Schools provide a private English-medium education accredited and monitored by the Indian government. This allows our students to be able to take their education “to the bank” and apply to a training/intermediate school after finishing the 10th standard (the equivalent of a U.S. high school education).

Why is an English-medium education so important?

Many village schools are taught in languages native to the area, but attaining university-level education requires students to know English. If a Dalit student does not learn English, he or she has little hope of rising above present circumstances. Attending a Good Shepherd School ensures students will know English, the language of commerce in India.

What are the odds of bettering a Dalit child’s future with the education you provide?

Good Shepherd Schools’ main aim is to prepare students to enter “junior college” (grades 11-12) and then “university” (traditional Bachelor’s Degree higher education). Our research indicates that 90% of all Good Shepherd students take this path. Each school’s faculty and staff counsels students, guiding them in future careers according to their strengths, interests, and academic potential. Staff also researches opportunities in local colleges/universities and seeks both entrance and scholarships for the Dalit graduates.

For students who prefer a trade or technical profession (i.e., welding, automotive repair, sales, etc.), our schools help connect them with the appropriate information or experts to train them. Trade schools like ones in the US do not really exist in India. Most trades are “generational” and are learned through family connections and/or apprenticeships. According to our research, about 8% of graduates choose trade school/technical professions.

Does DFN have “success stories” from graduates?

Absolutely! Pranitha is one of our recent graduates. She is now in a Doctor of Pharmacy program. Meet her here. If you want more stories visit our home page, blog, or drop us a line at info@dalitnetwork.org.

Does the opportunity exist through DFN to provide funding for students all the way through college/trade school?

We definitely do. If this is something that interests you, please contact us at info@dalitnetwork.org.

Click here for FAQs about Child Sponsorship.