Can you imagine what your life would be like if your family were so poor when you were a child? Then you had to work instead of going to school. But this is what happens to Arunthathiyar Dalit children living on the fringe of society in India. This group is the most oppressed among the Dalits, who are also known as “untouchables.” Today, your wonderful generosity changes lives.
A Miserable Life
These children live in miserable conditions. Their parents work as scavengers, beggars, or as day laborers if they can find work. Often the young children accompany their parents as they scavenge or beg for money. They hope to earn enough to survive another day. Sometimes, they go without anything to eat for days and are often malnourished and vulnerable to infections and disease.
Some older children are never educated because they stay home from school to look after their younger siblings. Public school is available for these children, but few have gone. They are forced to choose between going to school or helping their parents by begging.
Without An Education
Without an education, they are trapped in the vicious cycle of poverty. Most are illiterate, and many suffer from impaired psychological and social development. They will live out their entire lives in dire poverty and despair.
Father Joseph Raj, OFM and other missionary friars in Chennai, India, have a program focused on the younger Dalit children. The friars need our help to operate a preschool for three-to-five-year-old children.
A Girl Named Karthika
Karthika is almost four years old and has spent most of her life accompanying her mother to beg on the streets. But now she is attending the new Franciscan preschool.
She loves school and has not missed a day! Karthika has twenty-eight classmates, a professional teacher, and an assistant teacher. The children are learning the basics of Tamil, the local language, and English. They have free time with play materials and learning aids that foster their early cognitive and social development.
There is also a part-time cook who prepares a healthy noon meal. The children are fed beans, eggs, green peas, and local vegetables every school day. After only a few months, Karthika can now pronounce some Tamil and English words and even write some letters. She can repeat rhymes and is able to count.
Your Wonderful Generosity Changes Lives
I am writing today to ask you to help Fr. Joseph give young children like Karthika a chance to break the vicious cycle of poverty of a life begging on the streets. Please help provide these children with an early learning experience so they develop a passion for school and the skills to be successful!
Knowing that the younger children are in a safe place, the older siblings can attend school and their parents can look for day labor without worrying about them.
It will cost only $7,428 to educate all the children for one year. Every $22 you share with Fr. Joseph will feed and educate a preschool child for a full month!
But this is not all Fr. Joseph is doing to help the poor slum children of Chennai! Fr. Joseph and our other missionary friars have established seventeen different remedial education centers spread out through the poorest slums in the city of Chennai!
These centers serve 678 disadvantaged grade school children by helping them overcome their educational deficits. The children work with professional teachers and tutors in safe, caring learning environments after school!
The goal of this program is to supplement the public-school experience by helping these kids understand and keep up with their homework. This will develop the children’s confidence and increase their desire to stay in school. And through the grace of God, they will not drop out. Each child is also supplied with a good school backpack, notebooks, and other school materials their families cannot afford.
The cost to operate the remedial education centers and help children born into extreme poverty have success in school is only $21,384! That is only $32 to help one student succeed in school for the year.
Please consider helping Fr. Joseph give these precious children hope for the future by preparing them to continue their education and to succeed in school! Your gift to help educate a child reflects your loving heart and your commitment to helping the poor.
YOU have a special place in the prayers of all our friars because you support our Gospel work around the world. Please help Fr. Joseph give the Arunthathiyar Dalit children an education and the dream of a better tomorrow!
With a grateful heart,
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM
P.S. Thank you for your wonderful generosity. Your donation today will give a child living in dire poverty the opportunity to attend school. It will also give that child hope and the chance for a better future.