Why We Started
A chance conversation with a teacher friend led to us joining him for Christmas 2007 at a school for 'untouchables', (also known as Dalits) in Southern India. Having volunteered there two years earlier, our friend told us how moved he had been by the children's exuberance, infectious joy and 'happiness with so little'
That Christmas our lives changed forever. We met Father Eric and Father Maxim, the two Indian Jesuit priests who founded Loyola School 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 all the children work from a young age to help supplement the family income.
We 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 Dalit children needing financial sponsorship, and asked if we could find sponsor parents for them, and that's how we started supporting.
The impact of the trip made me want to sell our house and donate all the money to Loyola 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.
Founder of Supporting Dalit Children and Managing Trustee