Dalit school wins first place among 100 schools

By September 5, 2007

(MNN) — A Dalit school in India's
Tamil Nadu has won an award for its academic achievement. The school, Mount Sinai Residential
English Medium
School, is supported by Partners

Partners' Tom Chandler says the school took first place in a
test-based competition run by the "House of the Teacher" educational
agency. The Gurukulam ("House of
the teacher") is an agency that conducts competitive tests for school
children in English, science, and math. Out of more than 100 schools in the state,
their school won first place.

Says Bishop Moses Swamidas, Bible Faith Mission's leader,
"We are sowing the seed for the growth of a new generation from among
Dalits who have been denied, discriminated against, and deprived of
opportunities for human development. It is difficult in many ways to develop
such a people who have been enslaved for centuries."

More than that, though, it's helping tear down caste barriers in the community.
"The school is causing the Dalit community to be accepted by the higher
caste community, and through that, they're now getting privileges for job

There are 710 children enrolled in the BFM school, of whom
540 are Dalit ("untouchable") children, 128 from "backward
classes" (a low position in the caste hierarchy), and 54 from high castes.
The school goes up to grade 8, and there are plans to add one grade per year up to 12th.

The establishment of the kingdom of God
includes holistic transformation. Chandler
says education plays a key role in that transformation. "It's also
breaking down spiritual barriers. 
Already, what we've seen happening is that a number of higher caste
Hindus are beginning to investigate what Christianity is all about. There's
been some who have already come to faith, which is significant."

Their vision and burden is to prepare students to face the
challenges of globalization and the need for Christians to be active in society
when they grow up. In addition to imparting quality education, they impart
discipline and Christian education.

says their dream is to produce a new generation through the school which will
meet all the challenges of building this community, especially in Christian
leadership. Click here if you can help.

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