India's Dalit PeopleFor more than 3,000 years the Dalit people have been the oppressed majority under the Hindu caste system in India. Considered untouchable by upper caste Indians, the Dalit people have been deprived of basic human rights and some are even treated as slaves. Today the Dalit people are demanding dignity and human rights. They believe rejecting the Hindu caste system and ensuring their children receive an education are the keys to liberation.
Education for the DalitsThe Dalit community has invited Indian Christians to provide education for their children. In response, Christian leaders from all parts of India agreed to start 1,000 Dalit Education Centres (DECs) across the nation.
These DECs are placed in strategic locations chosen by the local Dalit leadership. Ideally, each Dalit Education Center will eventually cater to the educational needs of 250 - 500 children. Built on high academic standards, the DECs are based on the Christian worldview about God, human dignity, human salvation and social equality.
OM India has already launched over 50 centres across the nation and aims to have 100 schools running within the next few years. Other Christian organizations are also partnering with this significant project.
Education: OM India's DEC staff is committed to providing quality education to the Dalit children. This education is offered from Kindergarten through to Grade Ten. It is conducted in English, the language of commerce and upward mobility in India. Educating the next generation of Dalits will help to ensure the end of exploitation and oppression.
Vocational Training: In addition to the education for children, vocational training is provided along with Micro Enterprise opportunities for older teenagers and adults who want to learn income-generating skills. Training includes tailoring, driving, carpentry, cycle repair, ironing and electrical work. By earning their own money, these young adults will be able to end the vicious cycle of poverty and oppression.
Spiritual Hope: Along with the DEC Schools, a team of six OM India field workers visits nearby villages to address the spiritual needs of the community. Dalits are seeking freedom, dignity and acceptance.Â OM India provides opportunities for Indian peoples to hear Biblical truth. For many who have been treated as worthless creatures, the Bible's teaching about the value and worth of every human being is revolutionary.
Personal Dignity: Each DEC student is required to pay a minimum monthly fee. This helps to create a sense of ownership, dignity and accountability in the lives of the students and their parents. The actual cost of their schooling is much higher than the school fees collected. Thus, these children must rely on scholarships and sponsorship to complete their schooling.
You can be involved in the education of these Dalit children.
How much does it cost to sponsor a child?It costs €21.00 per child per month. This €21.00 covers expenses such as uniforms, shoes, textbooks, notebooks, teachers' salaries, stationery, utilities for the school, etc.Each centre has been built thanks to generous donations from OM partners around the world.
What will I know about the child?When you sponsor a child, you will be given the profile of that particular child including a photograph, details of the school in which he / she is studying, details of the class in which he / she is studying and information about the family background.
How can I begin to sponsor a child?The OM Ireland office can provide a profile card of a child. Please use the contact information on this website
What can I do as a sponsor?
What can I expect from the child I am sponsoring?Two reports from the child's class teacher every year sharing the progress the child is making in his / her studies. Two letters from the child each year.
What does OM recommend for churches?We recommend that if you are entering into sponsorship as a church then church members should sponsor children from one particular school.Your church can send one or two short-term mission teams to this particular school for 6 to 8 days at a time. The team can also be involved in the following activities
Participate in sports dayTeach drawing classesTeach English classesTeach Bible stories in moral class Take Church meetings if possibleLead a devotion time for teachersLead a devotion time for students
How long do I need to continue sponsorship?Ideally, we would ask you to consider sponsoring a child through his / her school education. This is a total of 12 years including Lower Kindergarten, Upper Kindergarten and classes 1 to 10. However, if you are not in a position to commit for 12 years we ask for a minimum commitment of one year.
How often do I need to send support?You can send in:€21 every month. OR €126 for six months OR €252 for 1 year
OR €3024 to cover the entire 12 years of schooling.
How do I pay?You can make use of our Standing Order form or send a cheque to the OM Ireland office quoting:The name of the childThe child sponsorship code numberThe months which the sponsorship amount will cover.
What happens when I visit?While we do encourage you to visit the Dalit Education Centre and see for yourself the impact this programme is making on the lives of India's Dalit children we ask you not to reveal to the child that you are the sponsor during the visit or bring gifts for your sponsored child during your visit.
This is to ensure other children do not feel hurt, neglected or left out. You are, of course, welcome to consider bringing a gift for the school as a whole or a small gift for every child.