Regular visitors to our website, 'Christian Faith', know that we support evangelistic (and social) work among the Dalit community in India.
Kate, a Christian who keeps us in touch with ministry work she is involved in, has recently informed us of a specific ministry worth knowing about, as well as a series of meetings that are happening very soon in Australia.
We warmly commend this compassionate ministry to you.
Please read on...
"For over 3,000 years, the 250+ million Dalit people of India who fall below the caste system have been considered “untouchable”.
Although gaining equal status under the law 60 years ago, little has changed in their daily lives and they face widespread discrimination; suffering exploitation, oppression and segregation in healthcare, education, and housing.
Being a Dalit determines the work they can do: cleaning the sewage that lies below the cities (thousands drown, or die from infections each year), handling dead bodies and various forms of manual labour. They face degrading conditions and many are trapped in various forms of bonded labour or slavery.
Low literacy and high dropout rates are common for Dalits.
The word ‘Dalit’ means ‘crushed, oppressed or broken’. They took this name upon themselves as they feel it epitomises their reality.
Dalit Freedom Network’s mission is to help these people achieve fundamental rights by providing education, healthcare, and economic empowerment. Dalit Freedom Network Australia (DFNA) raises awareness, funds, prayer, advocacy and resources for the projects in India where we have over 3,000 full-time national staff. We provide avenues through which people can make a difference through prayer, sponsorships, donations and various other means.
Currently our work in India has 107 schools providing 26,000+ Dalit and Backward caste students with Christian, English medium education. Schools are found across the breadth of India and it is exciting to hear these children dream of what they could do once they graduate!
A major goal of DFNA is to see the Jogini system eradicated.
Little girls as young as 5 or 6 become Joginis when they are dedicated to the temple goddess in a form of a marriage ceremony. Upon reaching puberty, they are raped and thereafter are trapped in a life of ritualised systemic sexual abuse.
The Jogini system has been illegal in India since 1988, but is rarely enforced.
Our workers in India raise awareness of the illegality of the system, prevent new dedications, provide shelter for at-risk girls, health care for Joginis, and empower Jogini women to leave the system through self-help groups and economic development programmes.
We want to multiply this programme to prevent more little girls succumbing to this abusive system; and to see more women rescued, rehabilitated, empowered and equipped and to restore their dignity and hope.
The easiest way for people to partner with us is by following us on Facebook, liking and sharing posts, so that we can profile the issues and be a voice for these women and girls.
Child sponsorship of $40 a month provides a Dalit or backward caste child with education which will transform their future through our child sponsorship programme.
Prayer underpins all we do, and we invite people to partner with us by signing up for the monthly prayer update, or joining or forming a prayer group in their area.
Volunteer help is needed for IT, graphic design and bookkeeping needs; and committees and ambassadors are needed in cities around Australia who can help us plan events and raise the profile of the work.
The Community Health Workers in India require on-going up-skilling, so we are also looking for nurses who could go to India for 2 – 3 weeks a couple of times a year to invest in intensive trainings.
The International President of DFN – Dr Joseph D’Souza will be in Australia in August, sharing in Melbourne, Sydney, Brisbane and Adelaide about the Dalit people, what is being done to restore dignity and hope, and opportunities to make a difference. (See venue/time information HERE).
Jeevaline Swamy – the Head of Anti-human trafficking ministry across in India will be in Australia in September holding meetings in Canberra, Sydney, Adelaide, Brisbane and Melbourne, sharing more specifically about the Jogini Programme.
For information about where you can hear Dr D’Souza or Jeevaline, or how you can be involved, email inf0(at)dfn.org.au or visit our website: www.dfn.org.au or Facebook page.
We would love to chat with anyone who would like to know how they could get involved and help to tell the story with us."
(EDITOR: see download below regarding the Yogini system).