Jai Birdi


Jai Birdi writes: “If education is the first and prime most ingredient for social transformation and creating opportunities for dignity, advancement, and equality, the Surrey-based organization, Dalit Freedom Network (DFN), has found the right ingredient and has found a mission of creating a “more equal education system” in India.”


Formed in Surrey some 5 years ago by Dr. Greg Hislop and his colleagues, the organization has now become a part of the international community.


The invitation to create a Canadian chapter was extended to Dr. Hislop when he attended the Dalit International Conference held in White Rock (near Vancouver, Canada) in 2003.


The DFN sees schools as a lighthouse for the entire community and believes that without these facilities, a Dalit child will never receive an education or an opportunity to advance in life.


The DFN, by working in conjunction with the local communities and governments, has opened schools in rural villages of India.


According to an article posted on the, there is disparity in the educational system in India.


“At one end of the spectrum, we have schools which impart quality education, boast excellent facilities and use English as the medium of instruction. These are the schools which charge hefty fees and donations and, hence, are out of reach for children from the less privileged families”, notes CG Menon, writer of the article published in The Hindu on August 16, 2009.


The DFN has set out a number of goals ranging from school construction, health care, economic development, and education and sponsorship.


Ajmer Rode, a local writer and activist agrees with the DFN’s focus on education and believes in “education for one, education for all” principle similar to the one propagated by freedom champion Abraham Lincoln who said, “Freedom for one, freedom for all”.


The DFN is also one of the most transparent organizations.  It has not only listed its projects and related goals, it also tracks its success on-line and members and public are encouraged to become involved, become champions of the projects they support or would like DFN to undertake.


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