Dalit Freedom Network

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Dalit Freedom Network is an evangelical Christian [1][2] organization whose claimed official mission is to "empower the Dalits in their quest for social freedom and human dignity by networking human, financial, and informational resources." [3] Founded by Dr. Joseph D'souza, who heads the All India Christian Council, and Nanci Ricks, DFN is located in Colorado. The Dalit Freedom Network is a partner of the All India Christian Council,[4] a nationwide alliance of more than 2000 Christian denominations, mission agencies, institutions, federations in India.As per Dr. Joseph D'Souza's biography[5] on The 700 Club's website : "The Dalit Freedom Network grew out of the AICC's (All India Christian Council's) need to facilitate work in the United States".[6]


The DFN hosted a conference entitled "Racism and Caste Based Discrimination in India: Implications for the US-India Relationship", where talks were given by Udit Raj and Kancha Ilaiah, both prominent critics of Hinduism. D'Souza has also frequently been cited by the Christian Coalition and other Fundamentalist Christian groups in the United States.[7] The Dalit Freedom Network raised $795,462 in 2004 and spent $372,523 on programs and services as reported by the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability. The remainder of the money was sent the following year as designated money to support developing programs.[citation needed]

D'Souza was invited to testify as an expert on the Dalit issue by the United States Congress at a hearing on October 6, 2005.[8]

DFN has four programming areas: education, healthcare, economic development, and social justice advocacy. In education, DFN has started more than fifty English-medium schools for Dalits and other low-caste people.[9] In healthcare, DFN has sent dozens of medical teams to Dalit villages for preventative care and in response to emergencies.[10] The economic development program is still in its foundational stages.[citation needed]

In advocacy, D'Souza and Ricks have both been recognized as international experts on the Dalit issue and have been invited to testify in the United States and internationally on the subject of Untouchability. D'Souza was invited to testify as an expert on the Dalit issue by the United States Congress at a hearing on October 6, 2005.[8] He also testified before the UK Conservative Human Rights Commission on April 4, 2007.[11] Both Ricks and D'Souza testified before the Congressional Human Rights Caucus on the effects of Untouchability on women.[12]

Activities in Nagaland and with Karen people[edit]

In 2007, D'Souza and John Dayal, expressed sadness over the recent violence in Nagaland and appealed to all sections of Naga society.[13] He has also worked with a missionary Benedict Rogers working with the Karen people in Myanmar.


The DFN and other similar NGOs have also been criticized by authors Crystal Hsu and P. N. Benjamin for working as "safe houses" for lobbyists engaged in destroying the cultural heritage of India. Hsu and Benjamin assert NGOs are using endemic problems with caste discrimination as a pretext to gain a foothold in Indian society that have increased social tensions without any meaningful benefit to the Dalit community. They have also criticized DFN for equating caste discrimination with racism. However, the authors do not provide data showing that NGOs such as DFN have not had any meaningful benefit, or provide reasonable alternatives to improve the quality of life for Dalits.[14]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The All India Christian Council has continued to make the Dalit freedom struggle their focus. The Dalit Freedom Network (www.dalitnetwork.org) was formed in 2003 to assist the Dalits in the areas of education, social justice, economic development, and healthcare" , On the Side of the Angels: Justice, Human Rights, and Kingdom Mission, pp 89, Biblica, 2007-06-01
  2. ^ Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA)
  3. ^ Dalit Freedom Network // About Us // About Us
  4. ^ According to their website DFN partners only with certain members of AICC, not with AICC as a whole
  5. ^ biography from The 700 Club
  6. ^ 'Dalit' twist to textbook row, Sandhya Jain, The Pioneer - July 24, 2007, archived at hindunet.org
  7. ^ Joseph D'Souza bio from The 700 Club
  8. ^ a b Testimonies before U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Africa, Global Human Rights & International Operations, Oct. 6, 2005
  9. ^ World Magazine Article on Modern Abolitionists
  10. ^ Rocky Mountain News Story on DFN
  11. ^ Testimonies before Conservative Human Rights Commission, April 4, 2007
  12. ^ Testimonies before Congressional Human Rights Caucus
  13. ^ Archives at Zinester: [India Thinkers Net]Nagaland appeal ,Raigad ,BCS,Nandigram etc. India Thinkers Net. Politics
  14. ^ www.hvk.org,HVK archive of Vijay Times

External links[edit]