From Sponsor Parents
I came across the charity ‘Supporting Dalit Children’ in August 2017. I confess I knew little about the Dalits until I read the information on the web site. After reading about the charity I contacted them to sponsor a boy which I duly did. In November of that year I learnt that he had a younger brother. I asked Dinah if he had a sponsor and she said he hadn’t, so I offered to sponsor Alwyn as well.
Unfortunately, the first boy I sponsored had a number of personal problems in 2019 and left the school. Towards the end of the year Dinah asked whether I would be willing to sponsor another boy, Vishwa, in his place. She knew his extensive family well, particularly two of his cousins. I was pleased to do this.
Over the years I have seen Alwyn grow from being quite a shy boy. It is great receiving photos of him receiving my Christmas card and also celebrating his birthday with his classmates. Rather than send him a birthday present I have sent money via Dinah so that something can be bought for each member of the class, as well as a cake they can all share. It is great receiving back a photo of his class all smiling receiving something even if it just some new pencils or a water bottle. This year I did this for Vishwa and his class as well.
One of things I have found since supporting the charity is that over time you do more than just be a sponsor. With Dinah’s Christmas appeals you are able support projects that benefit all the pupils. In addition, there is support for the wider Dalit community which is so important. I can think of the Water project and Rice appeals, and of course the Covid appeal. Plus this year’s vital Ambulance appeal. All of these appeals continue to remind me how fortunate we are in this country and the struggles of the Dalit community.
Finally, what inspires me and I am sure all other supporters, is Dinah with her passion and care not just for the children at the schools but for the wider Dalit community.
I first heard of Supporting Dalit Children from an old friend who knows Dinah Findlay well. As soon as I got in touch with Dinah, I knew that I wanted to be involved. I started by sponsoring one child and now sponsor four. The cost is so small to any of us, just £20 a month to give a child an education which will change their life forever and also give their families hope. Here we do not have the concept of being born into an underclass, from which we can never escape. In India it is a reality for the Dalits, unless we help their children. The regular bulletins keep me up to date with the progress, not only of my sponsor children, but also of the schools and projects of the teachers and others, who are there to help and give their professional lives. I can only pay a small part in sponsoring and giving when there are special appeals such as buying rice in famine and the new school uniforms. The hand drawn cards I receive from my students have pride of place on my mantelpiece at Christmas and Easter. A donation makes a real difference, it is the least we can do.
Coming from a South Asian background, I was aware of the Caste based discrimination that many faced, especially in South Asian countries such as India. But being brought up in the UK, I wasn’t sure how I could make a difference. Then, while browsing online, I found the charity and learnt of the great work they were carrying out and how many people they were helping. I also saw just how many children needed help, and this was when I chose to contribute by sponsoring a child.
I saw a girl who had dreams of becoming an engineer, and this resonated with me as I am currently an engineering student myself in the UK. I am fortunate enough to be studying engineering at university, and the idea that I could make my dream of becoming an engineer a reality for somebody else is unreal and an incredibly fulfilling experience. However, there are many more children that need your help, and there are many different ways in which you can aid them, all available to see on the Charity website.
You have a chance to break the generational cycle of poverty for a whole family, an educated child can better not only the lives of their own family but of others too, as many choose to spread their knowledge to others that need help. Every child deserves a chance to learn and become whatever they want to be in life, and you have an opportunity here to fulfil their dreams, so I urge you to help in any way that you can.
I have a lifelong passion for India, its history, cultural diversity, art, music, food, devotional life and breath-taking landscapes. Since my first visit in 1991 I have travelled extensively in India, each time becoming more and more concerned about the lives of street children and Dalit children in particular. On each trip I would make donations, visit schools providing whatever help or gifts I could, and give to individuals who lived on the streets with no certainty of food and shelter.
I was never certain that my donations were being wisely or appropriately used. I was never certain that my efforts were making any real or lasting difference. I was certain of one thing only: these children were innocent victims in need of love and support. I witnessed their fear and sorrow, the vacant stares of hopelessness in the sick and starving. I also witnessed the joy, playfulness and openhearted friendliness of these resilient, beautiful children. What bright generous spirits they have, even living in the kind of poverty few can imagine. What potential, shackled and dormant.
October 18th 2018 changed my life in a moment of rare sublimity. Walking in Jaipur, I came across a child begging in the street, something I had witnessed thousands of times. This time was different. This encounter was charged with the deepest sense of connection to a fellow human being, a weak, vulnerable, fragile spirit. I felt I had known this child forever, and this meeting was for a purpose. It penetrated to the very core of my being, touched my soul with glowing permanence. Why this particular encounter, this particular child? Who knows? Who can tell?
I returned home determined that this encounter would not be in vain, determined that this child, through my agency, would bring light and hope to other children.
I did some research, looking for a Charity that would make a real difference to the lives of Dalit children, a charity where every penny (or rupee!) would be spent where it was needed and not on excessive administration.
Supporting Dalit Children was just what I was looking for. It works with financial transparency, is enthusiastic and passionate with clear practical goals. I am now a 'sponsor parent' for a Dalit child, helping to provide an education, a path out of poverty, and a hopeful future. I will be able to follow this child's progress through education and beyond. This fills me with the greatest joy.
The street beggar in Jaipur may no longer be alive and in any case could never know that our encounter was the wellspring for something so positive and life-affirming.
My gratitude is to that child of Jaipur and to Supporting Dalit Children. Both unfolded a path for me and both are with me on the journey.
Rita and Willy H
“We are comforted by the thought that in giving to Supporting Dalit Children it is guaranteed to benefit those that need it most.”