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When and why was the charity Supporting Dalit Children formed?

The charity’s aims

HOW MUCH OF EVERY DONATION IS SENT TO THE DALIT SCHOOLS?


When and why was the charity Supporting Dalit Children formed?

IMG_2988A chance conversation with a teacher friend, led to our family joining him for Christmas 2007 at a school for 'untouchables', (also known as Dalits) in Southern India. Having volunteered there two years earlier, Richard told us how moved he had been by the children's exuberance and infectious joy, and in his words, 'happiness with so little'.

DSC00326That Christmas our lives changed forever. We met Father Eric and Father Maxim, the two Indian Jesuit priests who had founded Loyola Xavier School in 2004, specifically for Dalit and other impoverished children. Dalits are also known as 'untouchables', or 'outcasts'. These children are the 'poorest of the poor'; many have lost one or both parents, and almost all work from a very young age to help supplement the family income.

IMG1We were extremely moved by the work being done at Loyola Xavier school to care for and educate these children, so before we left we asked Father Maxim how we could help? He gave us details of 28 Dalit children needing financial sponsorship, and asked if we could find sponsor parents for them.

 

The impact of the trip made me want to sell our house and donate all the money to Xavier school but my husband convinced me this possibly wasn't the right idea long term! He reminded me of Mother Theresa's words, "it is not how much we give, but how much love we put in the giving...", and suggested I use my enthusiasm and optimism to encourage others to join us to help the 'untouchables'. And so as soon as we'd returned from India in January 2008, the charity Supporting Dalit Children was formed.

 

Dinah Findlay
Founder of Supporting Dalit Children and Managing Trustee


The charity’s aims

  1. Sponsoring Children
    Supporting Dalit Children is a totally voluntary charity. Our primary aim is to raise funds for Dalit and other impoverished children, to be educated at two schools in India with whom we have direct links. Loyola Xavier school and Loyola Kapepaladi school receive no Government funding and only enrol pupils who are the "poorest of the poor".

     

  2. Helping to fund educational projects such as the building of primary schools in remote villages
    We have supported the building of a new village primary school - Loyola Kapepaladi school in Pannur, for children living in remote and backward villages. Currently, at the age of 14, children at Loyola Kapepaladi school will transfer to Loyola Xavier school.

     

  3. Helping to fund social projects that benefit Dalit children and their families
    We aim to fund the building and equipping of tailoring schools that give opportunities specifically to under-educated teenage girls and young Dalit women. These young women can embark on a year's apprenticeship to learn the skill of tailoring, and with this new skill, they will achieve greater financial independence through the ability to work from home, leading to greater respect from the men in their community. We are also funding the materials needed to build water purification plants for villages that don't have access to a clean drinking water supply.

     

  4. Informing others about the Dalits
    We believe the Dalits' plight is little known about in the UK considering they number 1 in 6 of India's population - approximately 250 million. For centuries they have been down-trodden and oppressed and denied even the basic human rights.

    Therefore, the last but equally important aim of Supporting Dalit Children is to inform others about the realities of life for the Dalit people in the 21st century. To date we have spoken to primary and secondary schools, Scouting groups, W.I. groups and churches and written articles for parish magazines and local newspapers. We have found there to be great interest in how Loyola Xavier school is transforming their student's lives and future prospects, alongside how directly possible it is to help. Both children and adults are appalled to hear about the prejudices and oppression the Dalits are still suffering.

     


HOW MUCH OF EVERY DONATION IS SENT TO THE DALIT SCHOOLS?

Supporting Dalit Children is administered voluntarily with no administration, advertising, travel or any other costs deducted whatsoever. In this way every £1 given is sent directly to both schools for the purpose it has been given, and gives another Dalit child the opportunity to be educated. Or the donation helps to fund one of the social or building projects we are supporting. Supporting Dalit Children has its own bank account, is registered with the Charities Commission and has Gift Aid status.



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Supporting Dalit Children, Charity Commission Registration Number 1125102