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For 3,000 years, the caste system has characterized the political and social climate of India, and isolated 250 million people known as "Untouchables" or Dalits. This rigid hierarchic system determines the rights a person receives according to ancestry. As a result, each Indian is thought to deserve his or her status, whether high or low. Dalits, however, are not considered by the system and are quite literally "out-caste." Denied religious freedom and access to education, Dalits are trapped in the world's largest form of modern-day slavery. As the caste system begins to collapse, we invite you to join us as we bring hope and a future to the Dalits.

Today, the Dalits are calling for change--and asking the world to get involved. The Dalit Freedom Network was form in 2002 in response to this cry. DFN focuses on Community Transformation through education, healthcare, economic development, and social justice initiatives. Each of these programs is deeply interdependent, resulting in sustainable change and hope for India's Dalits.


The Dalit Freedom Network partners with India's Dalits in their quest for religious freedom, social justice and human rights by mobilizing human, informational, and financial resources.

The DFN office in Denver, CO, serves as a clearinghouse of information on activities involving the Dalits, and has experts working in a variety of strategic areas including: Dalit Education Centers, Economic Development, Healthcare, and Social Justice.


Dalit Freedom Network was organized in 2002 to work with individuals, foundations and organizations outside of India to coordinate their combined resources for use towards the emancipation of Dalits in India.

We seek to carry forward the legacy of William Wilberforce who worked tirelessly for the abolition of slavery and the reformation of society; the legacy of William Carey who worked for the abolition of Sati, the practice of burning widows on the funeral pyre of their husbands; the legacy of Dr. B. R. Ambedkar and Mahatma Phule who pioneered the movement for the abolition of caste and the Dalit quest for freedom and dignity; and the legacy of Mother Teresa who showed God's love in word and deed to the sick and dying; and to follow the command of Jesus Christ who called us to be 'the salt of the earth' and 'the light of the world.'


Dalit Freedom Network's vision is to oversee holistic transformation in Dalit communities. We realize that Community Transformation is a massive and lengthy undertaking requiring significant contributions of time, money, and will. But we believe it is possible through the following programs.

Education. Dalits believe that they are a different, subhuman species because Indian society treats them that way. Changing this belief demands a momentous reconstruction of Indian society. DFN is committed to developing Dalit Education Centers (DEC) in each community that teach children that they can hope for a positive future. Because fluent English skills give high-caste students access to decent jobs, we provide an English education to all students. DECs break down caste barriers because students of all castes are admitted and we provide a safe place for interaction, regardless of caste. Plus, our DEC model is sustainable. Financial partners subsidize the cost of education through our child sponsorship program, but each child also pays small, manageable fees once per year.

Healthcare. Although public healthcare facilities are available, many Dalits are turned away at the door because they are considered too "unclean" for anyone to help. Their communities are plagued by common, curable maladies that often develop into malformations because proper treatment is unavailable to them. The DFN Healthcare Program includes building Regional Medical Clinics in strategic locations, placing a Community Healthcare Worker in each school location, contributing to a scholarship for Dalits who plan to go into the medical field, and short-term visits from medical experts in the West.

Economic Development. Raj, a village resident in Central India, said, "My family lived in a leaking house made of grass and straw. We never dreamed of owning anything better. However, after my wife joined [a DFN] Self-Help Group, faithfully saved money and was granted a loan for our agricultural work, we were able to earn enough money to build a small house... I never believed my family could be safe and dry until now!" Currently, our self-help groups involve more than 5,000 families in 250+ communities. They teach money-management, vocational training, and provide ID cards to give Dalits the support they need to become economically independent community members.

Social Justice. DFN seeks to bring international attention to the Dalit cause and to see current designated aid to India earmarked for the Dalits. In May 2007, our International President Joseph D'souza and President & CEO Nanci Ricks, as well as Dalit leaders, testified before the Human Rights Caucus in Washington. Their visit is just one example of ways that DFN is a voice for the voiceless.


The mission of Dalit Freedom Network becomes practical through our model of holistically transformed communities. This model is based on an interactive relationship of Dalit Education Centers, healthcare initiatives in Dalit villages, self-help groups that promote vocational training and mirco-enterprise, along with efforts to raise awareness of the social justice issues involved in the Dalit situation.

We are proud to say that DFN and our Indian partners are the only people working in India today with complete support of the national Dalit leadership. This stance of total solidarity gives a distinct advantage to DFN as we move forward in the Transformed Community Initiative.


Nanci Ricks is the President and CEO of the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN). Through the years Nanci has been involved in numerous activities in her local community. Her volunteer involvement has included: beginning and running a support group for homeschooling families, leading a program to provide meals for those in crisis, counseling in the Stephens Ministry, providing meals for a lunch program for International Students, coordinating the local chapter of Mothers of Pre-Schoolers (MOPS), assisting with the running of Children’s Hospital Burn Camp for burn survivors, helping with a character development program in the inner city, as well as the various “opportunities” that arise when raising four children. Nanci has dedicated her life to bringing holistic transformation within India and encouraging others to get equally involved. Physical Therapist
Nanci has her B.S. in Physical Therapy from Indiana University. She has published several research articles particularly in the field of pediatrics, and has co-authored a chapter in a book on the rehabilitation of burn survivors. Her present practice of Physical Therapy comes mainly on her semi-annual trips to India and during the Children’s Hospital Burn Camps.
Nanci is married and is the mother of four children. She resides in Denver, Colorado.


Bob Beltz
Advisor to the Chairman, The Anschutz Corporation
Denver, CO

Peter Dance
Director India Ministries-USA
Tyrone, GA

Melody Divine, J.D.
Former Judiciary Counsel and Foreign Policy Advisor, Rep. Trent Franks, Rep-AZ
Littleton, CO

Joseph D’Souza
President, All Indian Christian Council
Secunderabad, Andhra Pradesh

Ken Heulitt
Chief Financial Officer, Moody Bible Institute
Chicago, IL

Gene Kissinger –Chairman of the Board
Outreach Pastor, Cherry Hills Community Church
Highlands Ranch, CO

Nanci Ricks –Secretary of the Board
Executive Director, Dalit Freedom Network
Greenwood Village, CO

Kumar Swamy
South India Regional Director, Operation Mobilization- India
Bengaluru, Karnataka

Rich Sweeney –Treasurer of the Board
Director of Operations, Dalit Freedom Network
Greenwood Village, CO

Cliff Young
Lead Singer, Caedmon’s Call
Houston, TX






5350 S ROSLYN ST STE 450

GREENWOOD VLG, CO 80111-2123

Phone: (303) 221-1333

EIN: 41-2075995

A Gift Card

Countries and Regions



Empower Dalit Women

One ticket for a woman

This gift will cover the cost for one Dalit women to attend a Women’s Empowerment Conference in India. Just beyond their village’s border—where many women have never ventured—the leaders of the Conference are prepared to teach Dalit women valuable truths about their worth as humans beings and skills for a dignified life despite caste oppression. This gift enables one woman to attend. Acting as host,...


Fund Micro-Loans

Start a Dalit business

This gift makes it possible for a Dalit in a self-help group sponsored by the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) to receive a small loan to start a business. Loan recipients develop a reliable source of income and gain self-respect and dignity by repaying the amount. Plus, as the loan is paid back with a fair interest rate, another group member may receive funding. When Sabita’s...


Equip A Seamstress

Tools for Dalit women

This gift will provide a kit of basic tailoring tools and cloth for one woman in a tailoring training center, enabling her to begin learning and practicing her new trade immediately. Contributing to sustainable economic development initiatives is a critical component of the Dalit Freedom Network’s (DFN) mission to partner with the Dalits in their quest for religious freedom, social justice, and human dignity by...


Tend to India

Healthcare tool kit

This gift places an essential tool kit into the hands of a Community Healthcare Worker in a Dalit village. For example, a stethoscope, scale and delivery kit are basic tools that make a big difference. The Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) is building a comprehensive healthcare system for Dalits. This is a critical component of the strategy to transform Dalit villages into a place free of...


Supply A Classroom

A child's desk & bench

The Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) works towards equal education and employment opportunities for all Dalits by offering a subsidized, quality English-medium education for Dalit children through 67 Dalit Education Centers throughout North & South India. By the end of 2007, 12 new schools will open and our goal is to operate 100 schools by 2009. Often, the shortage of desks forces younger students to sit...


Prevent Disease

Immunize a Dalit Child

This gift will cover the cost of vaccinations for one Dalit child. Not only is this a practical and much needed gift, it is a small investment with a big return: a healthy childhood. Healthy children are more likely to stay in school and succeed. In addition, you’re supporting the Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) Healthcare Program, which is the first comprehensive healthcare program for Dalits....


Increase Efficiency

Computer for a School

The Dalit Freedom Network (DFN) works towards equal education and employment opportunities for all Dalits by offering a subsidized, quality English-medium education for Dalit children through 67 Dalit Education Centers throughout North & South India. The start of the 2007-08 school year at a Dalit Education Center in South India brought 1,000 parents to the front gate eager to register their child for the 40...


Dignity for a Dalit

Dalit Economic Fund

But the story isn't finished. Dalit Freedom Network trained the father to drive a bicycle-rickshaw, leading to increased income so the mother could stay home and the daughter could attend school. As this story illustrates, the gifts that make up the Dalit Economic Fund are wisely used to contribute to the economic independence and stability of Dalit families in India. DFN's Self-Help groups provide money-management...


Free A Dalit Child

6 months of education

In the story above, a Dalit boy believed the messages of his culture and accepted that his life was worthless. But after a short time in a DFN Dalit Education Center, another boy, Babu, is able to proudly wear his uniform and say, "When I grow up, I want to be a police officer!" Through this gift you offer hope for a future to a...