Frequently Asked Questions

How does sponsorship help a child in India who is at a high risk for human trafficking?
What is my commitment as a sponsor?
What do my child sponsorship donations cover?
How do I correspond with my sponsored child?
How long will it take for my child to respond to my letter?
Can I visit my child in India?
Can I support additional projects at the school my child attends?
What are the children in the Good Shepherd Schools (GSSs) being taught?
How are children selected for sponsorship?
What happens to my child if I am no longer able to give?
What happens when my child graduates?
What if my child is no longer able to attend school?
When do the GSS schools begin and end their school year?
How can I be sure of the financial accountability of DFN?
How do I update my donation account information?
How do I update and receive my log-in information?
How can I receive my yearly tax donation receipt?

Question: How does sponsorship help a child in India who is at a high risk for human trafficking?

Answer:

With 40% of its 1.2 billion people under the age of 18, India has the highest population of children in the world, as well as the largest number of children in poverty. Their poverty puts them at risk for child labor, forced labor, or bonded labor and makes them especially vulnerable to being trafficked. Nearly 30% of the students at our Good Shepherd Schools have parents who are bonded laborers, a modern form of indentured servitude relatively unknown in the modern western world. In most poor villages in India education is not available and consequently there is no hope of children ever rising above the economic hardship and the limitations of their parents. As a child sponsor you make it possible for your child to receive an education and consequently you invest in the freedom and future of India's most vulnerable children. Without your help, most children cannot stay in school and are unable to escape a future of despair.

Our Education Program does not stand alone. For more information about the Dalit Freedom Network, visit www.dalitnetwork.org.


Question: What is my commitment as a sponsor?

Answer:

You are the only person who has the opportunity to build a sponsor/student relationship with your child, and while it is not required, we do hope you will take advantage of the opportunity to invest in your child on a personal level. Since the main goal of sponsorship is to free Dalit children by providing them with a complete education, our hope is that you will remain committed to sponsoring your child until he/she graduates from the Tenth Standard, which is the Indian equivalent to completing an American high school education. Good Shepherd Schools offer education through the Tenth Standard.


Question: What do my child sponsorship donations cover?

Answer:

Your faithful donation covers tuition, uniforms, school supplies, midday meals (where necessary), textbooks, teacher salaries, and administrative costs for your childs education. As a child sponsor, you help to provide a top-quality, English-medium, values-based education for India's most at-risk children, and help to launch their courageous journeys toward dignity, equality, safety, and security. Not only does your sponsorship donation cover all the education fees and costs, but it also strengthens the community's Four Pillar Transformation Program, which has education as its foundation. Each Good Shepherd School (GSS) becomes the central hub for all education, economic development, healthcare, and social justice initiatives in that specific community. The commitment you invest in your child's education has far-reaching impact upon that child's entire community.


Question: How do I correspond with my sponsored child?

Answer:

All correspondence to and from your sponsored child is routed through our Virginia Beach, VA office.  Please note that due to the general unreliability of international postal services, as well as to avoid issues of jealousy between children who receive gifts and those who do not, DFN and our Indian partners request that you DO NOT send packages or gifts to your child. With your letter, you may include anything that is small and flat and fits inside a standard sized envelope. Options include but are not limited to photographs, bookmarks, stickers, and coloring book pages. Additionally, please be respectful of the varying religious backgrounds of our students. Please know that you initiate communication with your child; your child will write in response to your letter.  There are two ways you can communicate with your child:

1) Send a letter by post on your own stationery or with the Write Your Child form we provide (additional Write Your Child forms can be requested through your Dalit Child account and can be sent to you either via post or via email as an attachment). If you choose to use your own stationery, please be sure to include the following at the top of the letter: your first and last name; your child's name; your child's code; and the date. Please send your letter to the DFN office:

Dalit Freedom Network
Post Office Box 3459
Virginia Beach, VA 23454

2) Write Your Child Online by following these steps: go to www.dalitchild.com; enter your Email ID and password; select Write Your Child Online; write your text in the Message Body; select Create PDF & Send Mail. Your letter will be routed through the Child Sponsorship Department and then emailed to your child in India. You will receive email confirmation that we have received your letter.


Question: How long will it take for my child to respond to my letter?

Answer:

Your child's response may take several months to reach you. Upon receiving your letter in our office, we will process and send it to India via post mail within a week. When our Indian partners receive your letter up to two weeks later, they send it on to the appropriate Good Shepherd School (GSS). Since many GSSs are located in remote parts of India, in-country mail can take weeks to reach them. There are at times delays beyond our control, such as heavy monsoon rains, civil unrest, and children being absent from school. Furthermore, when schools are not in session, our Indian partners will hold sponsors’ letters until the students return to class. Due to the extensive journey your letter must make, your child may receive your letter up to two months after you send it. Similarly, when your child replies, his or her letter must make the long journey back to our office.


Question: Can I visit my child in India?

Answer:

We would love for you to meet your child! DFN arranges organized trips to India several times each year, which we invite you to participate in. You may also arrange a visit when you are traveling for personal or business reasons. However, for safety and security purposes, both for you and your sponsored child, these visits must be pre-approved and pre-arranged through DFN and our India partners. Please contact info@dalitnetwork.org for more information.


Question: Can I support additional projects at the school my child attends?

Answer:

Yes, donations can be designated directly to your child's school for items such as (though not limited to) computer stations, playground equipment, desks, chairs, the school library, and additional school supplies. Please visit the donate page of our website and click EDUCATION in the left hand column to see the possibilities: http://www.dalitnetwork.org/go?/dfn/donate.


Question: What are the children in the Good Shepherd Schools (GSSs) being taught?

Answer:

In each of our GSSs, children study a fully preparatory, government-approved, India-standardized curriculum, with English as the language of instruction. Without the ability to speak and write in English, Dalit children will not be able to excel in Indian society. They also receive a values-based education that promotes the principles of freedom, equality, and human dignity for all. All GSSs provide education to children regardless of their class, creed, or faith.


Question: How are children selected for sponsorship?

Answer:

We establish each GSS on invitation only from the community and only if there is a large population of Dalit-Bahujan Communities in the village and the neighboring areas. 

In the admission process, we give priority to Dalit-Bahujan children. However, when poor families from other castes approach us, we often grant them admission, as well (though they make up a small percentage of our GSSs, less than 5%).

We do charge every child a small amount--25 to100 Rupees (50 cents to $2)--per month as a token tuition fee. Some parents are too poor to pay even this, so we give them a "partial scholarship." And there are some who are too impoverished to pay anything at all. For those 3 or 4 children per school who cannot afford to pay at all, we give a "full scholarship." On occasion, there are also families who have 3 or 4 children that all attend a GSS, and we ask them to pay full fees for only one or two of their children, as they are able.  

These scholarships only subsidize the token tuition fee and in no way cover the expenses of the school. Thus the need remains for child sponsorship for all children in all of our schools.


Question: What happens to my child if I am no longer able to give?

Answer:

The donations for child sponsorship are gathered into a pool designated for specific schools for the entire student body. By using this approach, if you are unable to continue your sponsorship, your child will be able to remain in school and will be eligible for sponsorship again. This also allows unsponsored children to attend school. The goal, though, is to have every child sponsored.


Question: What happens when my child graduates?

Answer:

Every year at the end of March there is a celebration for Good Shepherd Schools students graduating from the Tenth Standard (or tenth grade). Children who graduate from our GSSs generally follow one of three paths: join a junior college (Intermediate /Higher Secondary /Pre-Degree/ Pre-university), join vocational training institutes like Industrial Training Institutes (ITI) to become tailors, mechanics, carpenters etc., or decide not to pursue further studies in order to help in their father's profession. DFN and our Indian partners firmly believe that these graduates will positively impact their community, their country, and our world. Once your child graduates, we will automatically assign you a new child who has been waiting for a sponsor and will notify you of this change via mail. Because all correspondence to your child is routed through the GSSs in India, once a child graduates we unfortunately are unable to provide updates or means for continued communication with your child.


Question: What if my child is no longer able to attend school?

Answer:

Unfortunately, there are times when students withdraw from the GSS. This can occur in all of our schools for a number of reasons, such as the child's family moving too far away for the child to walk to school, or family economic needs that require a child to remain in the home to supplement the family income or take care of family members. If this occurs, we will automatically assign you another child in need of sponsorship and notify you of this change via mail. Your sponsorship will remain active unless you notify us otherwise.


Question: When do the GSS schools begin and end their school year?

Answer: In South India, schools start in the month of June and end in the end of March or beginning of April. In North India, schools open in the middle of June or beginning of July and end in the middle of May.


Question: How can I be sure of the financial accountability of DFN?

Answer:

Dalit Freedom Network is a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization with the Internal Revenue Service. We partner with Operation Mercy India Foundation (OMIF), which complies with the legal and financial requirements of the Indian government. Additionally, DFN is a Charity Navigator 4-Star organization, a Great Non Profits 5-Star organization, and a member of the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA).


Question: How do I update my donation account information?

Answer: You can update your account by contacting our Child Sponsorship Department with your new information at 757-233-9110 or by email at childsponsorship@dalitnetwork.org.


Question: How do I update and receive my log-in information?

Answer: On the homepage, select the "Forgot your Password?" button located under the Sign In button. You will be prompted to enter the email address you provided at the time you began your sponsorship. If you did not provide an email address when you began your sponsorship, have forgotten the email address you provided, or would like to provide a new email address, please contact our office by email at childsponsorship@dalitnetwork.org or by phone at 757.233.9110. Once you enter your email address, DFN will email you a temporary password. When you receive the password, use this password to log into your account on www.dalitchild.com. Please create a new password once you have entered your account. For your safety and security, our office does not keep a record of passwords. If you continue to have difficulties, please contact us by email at childsponsorship@dalitnetwork.org or by phone at 757.233.9110.


Question: How can I receive my yearly tax donation receipt?

Answer: Tax donation receipts are not available online. By the end January, DFN will provide your tax receipt to the email address linked to your account. If you do not have an email address, you will receive your statement via post mail. If you did not receive your tax donation receipt, please contact us by email at childsponsorship@dalitnetwork.org or by phone at 757-233-9110. Thank you for your support.