Empowering Vulnerable Young People with LifeSkills

Nov 4, 2014

The New Changemakers at Dream A Dream

Young people at FIFA Football for Hope Festival
Young people at FIFA Football for Hope Festival

Dear Donor,

It was been an absolutely cracker of a year so far at Dream A Dream!

In June, 6 young people from Dream A Dream got an opportunity of a lifetime when they represented India at the Football for Hope Festival held alongide the Football World Cup in Brazil. It was an experience that transformed them for life. Here is an media interview just before they left for Brazil -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1XRg1Yar_Rw. and a News report on their return - http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/our-footballers-are-back-from-brazil/article6246258.ece

While, 6 of our young people were making ripples Internationally, we continued to be inspired by stories of young people in our programmes. Stories like that of Praveen. 17 year old Praveen hailing from a low-income urban community joined the Dream Connect programme to enhance his Computer, English and Communication Skills. Inspired by the impact of the programme, Praveen started encouraging his friends in the community to join our programme and the last we heard, 22 of his friends have joined various programmes at Dream Connect. Praveen is not only making healthier choices in his life but also being a Changemaker in his community. 

The Dream Connect programme was started in 2010 to support young people like Praveen who need guidance, mentorship, access to information and opportunities and life skills to make life’s tough decisions as they embark into adulthood. Today, Dream Connect works with nearly 5,000 young people in the 14-19 age group from the most vulnerable communities in Bangalore. 

Stories like that of Vishnu. Vishnu was part of Dream A Dream's After School Life Skills Programme nearly 5 years back. Today, Vishnu is a Changemaker at Dream A Dream and in his community. Vishnu and his friends setup a Rugby Team and started taking free sessions next to a open sewer for other young children in his community. Inspired by the changes he was seeing, he and his friends have pursued their passion for Rugby and setup a local club to nurture talent and also participate in tournaments. In a recent tournament, his team won the cup which they proudly dedicated to Dream A Dream. He also pursues his college and works part-time with us as a Life Skills Facilitator taking our innovative Life Skills Approach to atleast 150 children in urban slum communities. 

We are beginning to see the tide turn after 15 years of committed effort in Bangalore. Hundreds of young graduates from our programmes are beginning to take leadership in their life and communities and become true Changemakers and it is just adding more inspiration to our movement of Changing the Script for these young people. 

Your support is critical to help us increase the tribe of young changemakers like Praveen and Vishnu. Have you made your annual contribution to Dream A Dream yet? If not, our sincere request to do it now and also help us reach out to your friends and family to join the movement. 

Today, the movement reaches out to 50,000 young people through all our various programmes across 3 states of India and we have ambitious plans to empower 250,000 young people by 2016. Your support to make this happen is critical!

With Gratitude,

The Dream Team


Jul 15, 2014

Experience of Life Time !!

Dreamers at the Football For Hope Festival 2014
Dreamers at the Football For Hope Festival 2014

Dear Co dreamers,

We are excited to say that our 6 young people who are part of the Life Skills through Sports programme got a life time opportunity when they were selected to participate at the FIFA Football For Hope Festival, 2014 at Brazil that run parrallel to the world cup. 

Along with this report, I want to share with you a volunteer story from the Dream outdoor experiential camp, followed by a few highlights of Dream A Dream programme. 

The training camp lead by two lead facilitators Nilisha and Boppana was truly amazing and definitely set a benchmark the way camps can be lead.  Every detail was kept in mind at all times to create a space where each of us felt encouraged to explore and nurture ourselves of our skills and talents. It was heartening to see how young people were open to express their thoughts and ideas and take creative risks.

Every staff meeting the leads would talk about what they saw was not going good, and how we could help get the group’s energy up. Things like how zoombas (camp volunteers) have to treat young people as equal, our need to come forward in gratitude circle and show how it is not only the big things that deserve gratitude , importance to push our edge and its effects on the young people, etc.   It was also good to see how zoombas and leads worked as one team and were in sync.

Jayanth (a student attending the camp) said “it is difficult to get spaces like this where we can share freely.”  The grace and honesty in which he lead the workshop with his friend Rakshith where we made science models, the way he owned the group, took us step by step on how to make a rocket with simple and clear instructions was excellent.   As a next activity, we had to make a solar system.  He took ideas from each one of us on how we would want to do it and let us do the model.

The way Maria Pradeep (a student attending the camp) lead the workshop about life skills where he was constantly challenging the group to be together and keep calm and attentive, modified his instructions and took the group together to the goal.  Had a reflection circle at the end to hear about the experience from the participants.  Took what he felt was important and brought it to the group to know what others wanted to say.   I was amazed to see how he had conducted the workshop and debrief of the same.

I can just go on with everything I saw, and even after so many days of camp, the memories and learning’s stay fresh.  This has been one of most special camp I have attended so far.

  • Dream A Dream, the only NGO from India to be selected for the FIFA football for Hope. 6 young players selected. 
  • Dell International, one of the long standing partners of Dream A Dream, initiated a month long campaign entitled “Ignite Youth Learning” to engage employees to volunteer at Dream A Dream.
  • Girish & Mahesh graduates of Dream A Dream recently bagged a US scholarship to pursue a one year certificate programme. http://www.bangaloremirror.com/bangalore/others/City-boys-grab-US-scholarship/articleshow/37722016.cms
  • Our Co-founder Vishal was invited for a talk atTedxBangalore.  https://campusdiaries.com/stories/tedxbangalore-campus-with-vishal-talreja
  • Participated in TCS world 10K Bangalore 2014. SSGA Ran supporting Dream A Dream.
  • Dream A Dream held a two day annual retreat for its employees at the Elim resort located at the outskirts of Bangalore. 
  • Dream A Dream was the official charity partner for the karaoke night event 'Kroak for Fund' at OPUS Sankey Road for all 4 Wednesdays in the month of June.
  • Dream A Dream was the official charity partner for the first ever vertical race in Bangalore called Skyscraper Dash held at the World Trade Centre, Bangalore.
  • 3119 young people enrolled in our life skills programmes – 1195 in Life skills through football and 1924 in Life skills through Arts.
  • 160 batches run across Bangalore partnering with 24 schools/NGOs - 92 batches in Life skills through Arts and 68 batches in Life skills through Football.
  • Each batch engages25-30 young people in the life skills development programme.
  • 3 Outdoor Experiential Camps completed engaging over 102 young people and 19 volunteers.
  • Teacher Development programme completed Life Skills Facilitation training level 1 and level 2 for 4 partners engaging 49 teachers. Completed Life Skills Facilitation training level 3 and level 4 for 5 old partners.
  • 8 young people participated in SPT tournament held in Bangalore.
  • 8 graduates participated in a tournament held at JP Nagar Bangalore.
  • Completed 1 mentoring Cycle – 25 mentors trained & 25 young people matched.
  • Engaged 454 young people in career awareness programme; 223 male and 231 female.
  • 551 young people engaged in skill development programme at the center; 194 male and 357 female.
  • 1038 young people enrolled to the Last Mile Support programme; 489 male and 549 female.
  • Received 196 applications for scholarships and 128 applications have been granted for scholarship.
  • 5 young people got placement.
  • Engaged 757 volunteers clocking 7182 volunteering hours.
  • Conducted 14 fundays engaging corporate employees.

Please scroll down to see a few pictures from the programme. We look forward for your continued support and an enduring relationship.

With Gratitude,

At TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014
At TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014
Young people sharing the workspace of volunteers
Young people sharing the workspace of volunteers
Young People being MCs at the Camp
Young People being MCs at the Camp
Dream Team at the Annual Retreat
Dream Team at the Annual Retreat
At the Teacher Development Training
At the Teacher Development Training


May 28, 2014

When Dreams Hit Bigger Heights !

Dear Co dreamers,

We are very excited to inform you that we are counting days to take participate in FIFA festival 2014. 6 young people and 6 young leaders of our programme is participating in the esteemed programme will be held in Brazil. They are also got an opportunity to watch live quarter final world cup football match 2014.

With this report I would want to share with you the Alisha (name changed), from the words of our Life Skills Facilitator followed by a few highlights of Dream A Dream programme.

The Challenge: Alisha (name changed) is a 14 year old girl studying in the 8th grade has been part of the Dream Life Skills through Arts Programme since August 2012.

The Life Skills facilitator observed that Alisha was not regular in the sessions and used to give reasons like, “I am not well, I have to leave my sister to school, Relatives have come home, etc.” Initially the facilitator thought that Alisha was not interested in the programme and attempted to talk to her but it didn’t work.

Subsequently the facilitator observed that during sessions, other participants were not friendly with Alisha. They were not willing to mingle with her and avoided sitting next to her. If anyone sat next to Alisha, that person was laughed and teased by the others. During a personal conversation with the facilitator, Alisha shared that since no one was friendly with her and the she was teased and scolded even at school, she did not want to attend the sessions. Alisha further shared that her classmates refused to help her in class work.  When she brought this to principal’s notice, she scolded her back. Her parents convinced her saying they will change her school next year.

The Change:  During one of the Life Skill sessions, the facilitator observed that no one wanted to pair with Alisha. After the session, the facilitator posed this question to the group and one of the participants mentioned that they felt that “Alisha is not clean and is not a decent girl.”

The facilitator realized the gravity of the discrimination and engaged Alisha in one-on-one conversations. The facilitators focus was to build her strength, resilience and ability to deal with this discrimination. Slowly building a personal bond with Alisha, providing her with lots of authentic validation, creating a safe space for Alisha to share her feelings and by listening to her, the facilitator managed to transform Alisha.

The facilitator shared her own story and encouraged Alisha to stay on in the programme. Alisha shared this with her mother and her mother encouraged her to attend these sessions. Through regular interactions with the facilitator, building her trust on the facilitator, Alisha became interested in attending the sessions and gradually the other participants noticed Alisha’s interest and talent.

The facilitator gradually noticed that Alisha started taking leadership, engaging with others and learning to deal with her feelings when others were teasing her. For instance, one day she could not complete her class work; her teacher did not allow her to attend the session. But Alisha was interested. She requested the facilitator to get her permission from the principal to attend session. She got it done.

One day Alisha shared with the facilitator, “Akka (sister), my friends celebrated my birthday using their own money and they are friendly with me!” Alisha is moving forward in her life positively and wants to continue in life skill sessions next year also.

The Dream Power: At Dream A Dream, the core of our intervention with young people centers around bringing care and empathy in our engagement with them. Through deep listening, building personal connections, acceptance, validation and creating safe learning spaces, we develop critical life skills in young girls like Alisha.

Organisational Highlights

  • Dream A Dream, In association with Christ University organized the first ever conference on the “Life Skills Assessment Scale”. NGO heads, researchers, academicians and social work students made up the over 200 participants at the conference.
  • Dream A Dream invited to be a presenter at the Annual Idea Conference organized by LEGO Foundation in Billund, Denmark between 8th - 10th April 2014.
  • The Dream Rugby Team won second prize in the “Touch Me Not Rugby Tournament” organised by Karnataka Rugby Football Union. 5 boys and 1 girl from Dream A Dream participated in the match.
  • Dream A Dream planned and moderated a session on “Education – Evolving Role of Teachers” at the Annual Development Dialogue 2014, Hubli organized by Deshpande Foundation.

Programmeme Highlights

  • Engaged 5369 young people through our life skills programme. 2117 In Life Skills through Sports and 3252 through our Like Skills through Arts programme.
  • A total of 2533 boys and 2836 girls are participating in the programme with a healthy ratio of 52.8% girls.
  • 355 young people graduated from the programme.
  • Conducted a total of 16 camps engaging 562 young people for year 2013-14.
  • In the year 2013-14, Dream Connect engaged 3179 young people in various skill development and career development courses in the Dream Connect Programme.1472 Male and 1707 Female were engaged in the programme. Retention across courses is 97.2%.
  • 416 young adults engaged in Last Mile Support Programme in Q4 and engaged 755 young people in year 2013-14.
  • Provided placement service to 14 graduates from the Dream Connect programme in Q4. Total job placement provided for 26 Dream Connect graduates in 2013-14. These are entry level jobs in Retail and F&B industries or as data entry operators for start-ups in Bangalore.
  • As part of the ‘Kalarava” initiative, 200 graduates were engaged in new learning exposures. This includes 76 young people in Q4.
  • Engaged over 533 teachers / youth workers / facilitators in our 4-workshop Teacher Development Programme for the year 2013-14.
  • A team of 20 Lead facilitators deliver the training. Received 83.3% overall average rating of excellent/very good on the training from the participants.

“This Training helped me to change my way of communication and interaction, I learnt the importance of the two in my day to day life and most importantly as a Teacher.”Teacher, Youth For Seva after attending Life Skills Facilitator’s training level3

  • Through Dream Mentoring Programme established 100 mentor mentee relationships in 2013-14through 4 cycles of training and engagement.
  • Engaged 2214 volunteers and clocked 25,341 hours in 2013-14.
  • Conducted 56 fundays involving 17 corporates and 4 educational institutions engaging 1713 volunteers clocking 6654 hours in 2013-14.

Please scroll down to see a few pictures from the programme. We look forward for your continued support and an enduring relationship.

With Gratitude,



@ Dream Connect Center
@ Dream Connect Center
@ Lead Facilitator
@ Lead Facilitator's Training
Young People with an Volunteer @ a Funday
Young People with an Volunteer @ a Funday
Feb 25, 2014

An awesome Beginning for the Year!!

Dear Co-dreamers,

We are happy to inform you that The Life Skills Assessment Scale has been developed by Dr. David Pearson and Dr. Fiona Kennedy from the UK who have been working together with Dream A Dream over the past five years to develop and publish a standardized and reliable impact measure for Dream A Dream’s Life Skills programmes for children from vulnerable backgrounds.  

With this report I would want to share with you the story of Seema (name changed), from the words of our Life Skills Facilitator followed by a few highlights of Dream A Dream programme

The Challenge: Seema is a 12 year old girl studying in the 6th grade at Shama Vidya Shaala, a school for children from vulnerable backgrounds. Seema has been part of the Dream Life Skills through Football Programme since August 2012.

According to the facilitator, Seema is a simple and well-spoken girl. She is regular participant and enjoys learning football and the various activities at the session. She is an active participant and encourages other participants to more attentive and positive in the sessions.

During one of the sessions that was themed around Communication and Building Relationships, the facilitator makes the following observation. “We started with a game of Handball. Seema was very enthusiastic and started off with lots of energy and excitement. In about 20-minutes, Seema seems to have lost interest in the activity and I didn’t notice that she had gone out of the group and sitting in one corner. When I noticed her missing, I realized she had stopped playing and went ahead to find out what happened. Seema shared that she was not getting the ball even though she tried and started weeping.”

The Change:  The facilitator heard and validated her. At the end of the session, during reflection time, Seema shared how she felt unseen with the rest of her team-mates. He used that as an opportunity to also share a similar story from his life when I felt unseen and alone and everyone seemed to understand. Seema felt reassured and that story helped her feel positive about life.”

In Seema’s own words, “I like playing in the team especially playing against friends gives lots of confidence. I enjoy sessions because I get to play. By coming for football sessions I was able to perform well in my social studies, earlier I used to be poor in this subject after speaking to you (facilitator) and hearing to your story made biggest impact to do well in social studies and got good marks. Session makes it even more special by sports as a group.”

The Dream Power:  At Dream A Dream, our work with young people stands on the belief that when we engage with young people with care and empathy, they respond and learn. In above instance, the facilitator, created a safe space for Seema to share how she felt, the facilitator validated and acknowledged her emotions, built a personal connection with her and used this experience to share a personal story from her own life. In all this, the facilitator was deeply committed to helping Seema develop her Life Skills and feel seen and heard.

Organization and Programme Updates and Highlights

  • Received Educasport World Forum Award for ‘New Skills of Sports Instructions’ at Paris.
  • Launched second Dream Connect Center in KR Puram, Bangalore.
  • Organized ‘Soiree de Smiles’ – Dream A Dream’s first exclusive fundraising evening as part of Unlock Smiles Campaign.
  • A visit by Goals for Girls from USA. Organized a coaching clinic and friendly tournament involving 42 girls from Dream A Dream and 20 girls from Goals for Girls team.
  • Participated in Standard Chartered Mumbai Marathon 2014 on January 19th 2014. 16 people ran supporting Dream A Dream.
  • Successfully facilitated a large scale volunteering workshop for close to 150 representatives from NGOs and CSR units of companies at the IBM Corporate Service Corps conference in Bangalore.
  • Nandan Nilekani had a dialogue with graduates and facilitators at Dream A Dream and wrote a blog at http://www.nandannilekani.in/blog/5-dream-a-dream
  • Girish Ronald, a Dream Graduate was featured in an article by The Alternative at http://thealternative.in/inclusivity/spocial-revolution-finding-a-home/
  • Engaged 5119 young people through our life skills programmes. 1987 in Life Skills through Sports and 3132 through our Like Skills through Creative Arts programmes.
  • A total of 2408 boys and 2711 girls are participating in the programmes with healthy 54% girls.
  • Engaged 1809 young people in various skill development and career development courses in the Dream Connect programme
  • Launched a Second Technology equipped Dream Connect Center in K R Puram, Bangalore in December 2013 with a capacity to engage 2000 young people a year. The Center was inaugurated by Mr. Rudramuni, Country Head, Dell India
  • Engaged 488 young people conducting 14 outdoor experiential camps.
  • Job placements provided for 17 Dream Connect graduates.
  • Engaged 447 teachers/NGO workers through our Teacher Development Programme.
  • Trained 95 adult volunteers in Dream mentoring programme.
  • Engaged 1,831 volunteers clocking 19,231 hours.

Please scroll down to see a few pictures from the programme. We look forward for your continued support and an enduring relationship.

With Gratitude,


Young People with Qualcomm employees at a Fun Day
Young People with Qualcomm employees at a Fun Day
Young People at an Outdoor Experiential Camp
Young People at an Outdoor Experiential Camp
Nov 25, 2013

Growth with Care

Dear Codreamers,

“Growth” is the word that best captures Dream A Dream’s journey so far this year. We have now reached out to 4739 young people directly through our life skills programme. Our Dream Team is growing and today we have 70 member staff with sharp design and delivery skills.

With this report I would want to share with you a few highlights so far and the story of Goutham (name changed), from the words of our Life Skills Facilitator, Kishen.

Meet Goutham, who is studying in 4th standard and has been part of our Dream life skills programmes since the start of this year.

The Challenge:  When we started sessions, he was very mischievous and would sit in the back bench of the class and disturb his friends. He was never attentive in class and showed the same behaviour in our sessions. He would pretend to be doing the assigned activity during the sessions. One day, I sat with him and spoke with him regarding this issue and asked him to be attentive in the classes and to understand the instructions carefully before he does the activity. During the next session in the Reflection circle I asked Goutham to take initiative and speak about the experience he had in the activity. He said “I don’t know what to speak.“  After the session that day, we both had another chat for 20 minutes and I explained that if he had participated in the activity with interest and dedication he would have been able to speak like the others. Also I explained what life skills are and why they are important just like academics is in our life.

The Change:  From that day Goutham has realized and has been showing interest in sessions and also participates very actively. Now, he loves the sessions so much that he asks me to take more than 3 classes in a week. He follows all instructions carefully and asks for clarifications. He also takes initiative to lead the group.

The Dream Power:  At Dream A Dream, we take pride in our approach to bring 'care and empathy' into our engagement with young people through Life Skills Facilitators like Kishen. Kishen’s ability to build a personal bond with Goutham and gain his trust; Kishen’s ability to not give up on Goutham and create a safe and supportive learning space for Goutham are hallmarks of Dream A Dream’s unique approach to learning.

Organization and Programme Updates and Highlights:

  • 4739 young people are enrolled in our life skills programmes: 1890 in Life Skills through Football and 2849 in Life Skills through Creative Arts. Quote from the field I like all games in Dream A Dream class and those life skills is helping in my personal life; how I can plan for study and managing some personal problem”. Young person, 9th Standard.
  • 206 young people were part of our 6 Outdoor Experiential Camps.
  • At our Dream Connect Centre:
    • 610 young people were engaged in our career based life skills education with a healthy gender ratio of 10 boys for every 12 girls enrolled in the course.
    • 97% of young people showed significant improvement in computer skills.
    • As part of last mile support programme 11 young people were provided job placements.
    • “Saturday Kalarava” – An evening get together was initiated and will happen on every third Saturday bringing together young people, volunteers, alumni and other stake holders to network, engage, contribute and learn new things which can be applied in daily life.
  • 1288 volunteers were engaged, clocking 11,606 volunteering hours.
  • Teacher Development Programme is delivered through a series of 4 workshops called Teacher Development Programme (TDP #1, 2, 3, & 4) focused on engaging, enabling, and empowering teachers and youth workers which in turn helps them to empower young people with life skills in their own schools and regions. 156 teachers/youth workers have successfully completed TDP #1 and 43 teachers or youth workers have successfully completed TDP #1 and #2. Quote from a teacher "This training programme made me very bold and confident and also helped me to discover myself."
  • Our Head of Programmes, Ashok G, being selected as one of the speakers at the EDUCASPORT World Forum, Paris France in November 2013 to share best practices and the Dream A Dream way in the area of Sports for Development. http://www.educasport-worldforum.org/en/dream-a-dream-un-reve-sportif-au-coeur-des-bidonvilles-indiens/
  • A team of six young people from Dream A Dream have been selected to represent us at the Football for Hope Festival 2014, to be held during the climax of the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil™ in Rio de Janeiro - http://www.fifa.com/worldcup/organisation/sustainability/football-for-hope.html
  • Two of our Dream Graduates, Santosh & Vishwa, who have just returned from a US Consulate sponsored one-year study programme in the US featured in the press (Pages 20-21) http://www.joomag.com/magazine/boiled-beans-september-2013/0992266001379671546

We look forward for your continued support and an enduring relationship.

Thank you!!

Teachers at a TDP training
Teachers at a TDP training

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Dream A Dream

Jayanagar, Bangalore, India, India

Project Leader

Vishal Talreja

Bangalore, Karnataka India

Where is this project located?

Map of Empowering Vulnerable Young People with LifeSkills