Computer for a School
Although India is the world’s largest democracy, about 25% of the population lives in perpetual poverty due to 3,000 years of caste oppression. This segment of the population, known as the “Untouchables” or Dalit, is systematically denied education; Dalit children often work in factories manufacturing bricks or fireworks, or in bonded labor, to contribute to a meager family income. Without access to a quality English-medium education, college and professional jobs remain beyond their reach.
The Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) works towards equal education and employment opportunities for all Dalits by offering a subsidized, quality English-medium education for Dalit children through 67 Dalit Education Centers throughout North & South India. The start of the 2007-08 school year at a Dalit Education Center in South India brought 1,000 parents to the front gate eager to register their child for the 40 available openings. Existing schools are growing quickly, adding a new grade level each year; 12 new schools will open before the end of 2007. This gift places a computer in one school to greatly increase efficiency as the teachers and staff perform tasks such as tracking enrollment, making report cards, and developing innovative curriculum. Fourteen-year-old Priya is one of the fortunate children attending the school described above. Although her parents work in a local firecracker factory earning about $1 a day for this hazardous labor, DFN offers Priya a bright future and she aspires to become a software engineer.