In India, millions of men and women are outcast from their society. These people cannot touch anything that normal society can for fear that they will make it diseased. They must live without reasonable job opportunity, assistance from the government, or contact from developed society of any kind. They are not criminals. Many do not even have disease. They are known as the "Dalite" or the "Untouchables" and they are ostracized from regular society simply because of the family that each was born into. The Caste System of India is egregiously rigid and has been in effect for 2000 years.
However, that cannot stop change. Through the help and effort of the Greenwood Community Church and the Dalite Freedom Network, these men, women, and children are finally getting the chance that they deserve. Personally, I have been on two week mission trips (June-July 2006, June-July 2007) to India with the affiliation of both GCC and DFN. While I was in India, we did not wander aimlessly around the God forsaken country indulging in typical tourist business. We spent our time in the slums and villages playing with the children and spreading the word of Jesus. Some may argue that these people need financial and sustainable support, which is true. However the greatest void in the gravely destitute culture in which they live is hope. Why should they have hope? The culture has operated with a rising middle class and dying lowest class for 2000 years. Their grandparents were Dalite and their great-grandparents were Dalite. However, when these "hopeless" people witnessed a group of 20 white people venture into their village that was mired in filth and blatant health violations, there was indeed hope and excitement in their faces and in their voices.
In order to make this hope reality, financial assistance was indeed necessary. Each year the trip cost $60,000 for the whole group to go. This was money was fundraised by our own efforts each year and of the $60,000, $15,000 was sent to DFN so that they could implement help via water purification systems, better education for Dalite children, and food cartels that would reach the people and not be intercepted by a conquering corrupt local faction. Worldwide awareness of the Dalite has now enabled other organizations to help as well. Nanci Ricks, leader of DFN, was even interviewed on "The Today Show" about her efforts and assistance involving this previously unknown problem in India. It is a groundbreaking recognition for DFN, GCC, and the Dalite society. Even a high schooler such as myself and the others who accompanied me can help incite international change for the better.