Season's Greetings from Dream A Dream!
This brings you the report card for Dream Life Skills Development Program (Dream Program) for first half of current academic year; June - November 2010. Overall it has been a great success! This academic year, the program has close to 2500 students from 11 schools across Bangalore already enrolled. The target is to close the year in March reaching out to 3000 children. Students are doing well in schools and in the Dream Programs. Some of the highlights of this year have been:
Thank you for choosing to make a difference to the lives of our children. Your support is truly appreciated. We hope you are satisfied with our updates. We look forward to building a long lasting relationship with you.
Thank you once again for believing and engaging in our work.
In this update we bring you a few moments that became milestones for the children. Thank you for helping us help them.
The following two narratives are from our Dream Adventure Program and Dream Creative Arts Program. A story of a girl-child for whom an outdoor adventure camp was an experience of realization of self-achievement, of breaking barriers, norms & rules stated by our culture, religion and socio-political set up. The second story is of an 8 year old for whom an appreciation is the beginning of his learning in building interpersonal relationships.
Nita (name changed) was one of the most active participants in camp. She showed good teamwork and took a lot of initiative. On the last day of camp at ‘Circle Time’, reflecting on her experience of having fun and learning new skills said, “Everyone thinks only men can survive hard physical work and activities that require courage. In this all Girl’s Camp, we have proven that is not true. We can do whatever we set our mind on…its just needs a little effort”. The true inner strength of this young girl was reflected in this sharing. The rest of the group agreed with what Nita had to say and her feedback was received with a thunderous applause.
Anil (name changed) was rude and unwilling to follow instructions. Midway through the sessions a breakthrough happened. In one session, the facilitator introduced the concept of geometric shapes using circles as an example but the children were given the option to use any geometric form that they wished to. Anil cooperated and painted bold squares on the sheet of paper given to him. The facilitators appreciated his work. Post the episode, Anil is willing to take instruction, sincerely paints and has fun while doing so. He still continues to talk and do mischief in the class, but is not rude.
All the children in Dream A Dream programs come from extremely vulnerable backgrounds where they have little or no exposure to a learning environment to develop life skills. The Program gives children an opportunity to discover their inner strength and a safe space to explore their skills, attitudes and overcome challenges. The personal growth they experience is something that will stay with them for a long-time and give them the strength to fight the many battles that life throws at them.
These instances also reinforces our belief that empowerment is possible when we develop life skills and life skills are needed for a wholesome approach to child development.
We have great support from many people and institutions and we appreciate their contributions, time, and effort to help others. We are a team who strives to make a difference in children’s lives. Thank you for choosing to make a difference to the lives of our children. Your support is truly appreciated. We look forward to building a long lasting relationship with you.
We thank you for choosing to make a difference to the lives of our children. We are grateful for your support and want to share how your donation is been put to work!
June is the beginning of the program year at Dream A Dream and we look forward to children returning to our programs in life skills education. We start the year with about 1400 children coming back into our Sports and Creative Arts Programs – both programs aim at building critical life skills in vulnerable children in a fun, experiential and non-threatening environment. In addition, we hope to add another 1200 children to these programs in this year.
According to Mr Anand Kumar, Principal, Round Table School, on what makes Dream Programs relevant to the vulnerable child’s development. “The children really enjoy the sports and creative arts program…also there was a visible improvement in the academic performance of the children as they remain more active owing to the program… we are particularly happy that the sports program provides equal opportunity to our girl students. We would not be exaggerating, if we say that Dream A Dream has proved to be a blessing to the school. Thank you Dream A Dream for helping our children live their dreams!”
We are delighted to announce that Dream A Dream has recently become the 3rd organization from India to be part of streetfootball network looking to promote football amongst vulnerable children/youth across the world. This will give us access to new partnerships, curriculum development tools, training, etc.
Few things possess more power than empowering children from vulnerable backgrounds with life skills. Life skills provide a child with the “tools” necessary for engaging with life in a wholesome manner. Dream A Dream mission is empowering children from vulnerable backgrounds with life coping skills.
Conceptualizing Dream Life Skills Development Program as an intervention that supplements regular schooling and helps Completing Education for vulnerable children is the big idea. Moving beyond the child’s need of food, shelter, academic education and focusing on developing life skills is the core idea of Dream Programs.
Dream Programs performance for Academic year June 2009 – March 2010 was impressive. Total number of children enrolled in Dream Life Skill Development Program for 2009-10 was 2172 (54% boys and 46% girls). The average attendance was 85% and the dropout rate was less than one percent.
The year end highlight was the closing ceremony of each of the Dream Programs.
Dream Learn IT Program closing ceremony was called ‘Bits & Bytes’. The objective of ‘Bits & Bytes’ was to showcase the competence of children in handling computer applications and provide an opportunity for the children to make a presentation in front of an audience. The event was a smashing success and our little dreamers the stars of the show. They took to the stage with the ease of practiced veterans, presenting on topics which ranged from pollution problems in cities to the role of computers in society today. Intimidating as it may have seemed to them to stand in a room of over 200 people and speak for the first time, they were able to conquer their fears and face the crowd with courage. It is amazing to think that just a few short months have transformed these children from shy, awkward individuals to strong, determined people. Thanks to our dedicated and trained volunteer-trainers, the life skills development program developed to nurture these children to their best potential produced amazing results.
To quote Pablo Picasso: “All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up”. In Dream Creative Arts Program, all the artists are children. Here, children have a chance to explore and express themselves through one of the most powerful mediums available-ART! In celebration of this, 3 exhibitions were held as the closing ceremony. According to Kinnar Shah, Dream Champion, “It’s amazing to see how far the kids have come. I remember one little girl used to cry every time we asked her to draw or paint something. She was so scared because she didn’t know what to do. By the end of the program, she was so confident and sure, she created something all on her own. She drew a perfectly beautiful lotus and made a collage out of it”.
Dream Sports Program is one of the corner stones of Dream A Dream. The culmination of this year’s activities was a soccer tournament. The result was an exciting week of soccer, fun and laughter. As one member of the Dream staff put it, “Natural Leaders emerged who took control of a situation and rose to the occasion. Yellow Socks was such a natural leader!” ‘Yellow socks’, affectionately named so by the Dream staff because of her bright yellow socks, is one of our little dreamers. She was so enthusiastic and excited about the event that she consistently motivated her team to win. Unfortunately for little Yellow Socks, her team lost!
For some present that day, such as Revanna, Dream Champion, it was a full circle moment. Revanna started as one of the children in the program five years back. When asked why he loves being part of Dream Sports Program, his answer is a fitting conclusion to a beautiful year of accomplishments and triumphs at Dream A Dream: “I want to be a good sportsman one day”.
To reach a larger number of children, scaling the Dream Programs is essential. Dream A Dream has aims to reach 4000 children in academic year June 2010-March 2011.
Thank you for choosing to make a difference to the lives of our children. Your support is truly appreciated. We look forward to building a long lasting relationship with you.
To know more about Dream A Dream and its work, we invite you to visit our website http://dreamadream.org.
Dream A Dream has made outstanding progress in scaling it’s programs. We started this year (April 2009) with a goal of expanding our programs to 2000 children. In eight months, we have reached out to 10 NGO partners impacting over 1494 children through regular life skills development programs. This includes 819 Boys and 675 Girls in our various life skills programs with an almost full attendance showing the tremendous interest. We have currently actively engaged over 648 community volunteers who have contributed over 6600 volunteer hours.
Rugby stars at Dream A Dream
Utilising sports as a medium to empower vulnerable children with life skills has been the core of Dream A Dream’s strategy since 2003. It gives us enormous pride to say that eleven children from the Dream Rugby program were selected in the state list to play for Karnataka in the State Under 16 Team. Subsequently 6 from the 11 boys have made it to the final list of players representing Karnataka.
As would be expected, the boys - Tamim, Yelappa, Nandish, Rakshith, Manja and Ranjith are excited. This opens up many opportunities for them. They could get selected to play for India! They would now get opportunities to compete with the best in the field and win many laurels. The factor that is most in favour of these boys is their age; the boys are 13 - 14 years old. This gives them a good two to three years time frame to improve and make it to the next level. Making it big seems an achievable target for these children from poor and vulnerable backgrounds!
Dream A Dream on a global platform
Dream A Dream’s project ‘Empowering Vulnerable Children through Life Skills’ has been short-listed for the final round of the Japenese Award for Most Innovative Development Project, as part of the Global Development Awards and Medals Competition. Over 200 submissions were received for this category and Dream A Dream is among the top three finalists. The final round of the competition will take place at GDN’s 11th Annual Global Development Conference to be held in Prague, Czech Republic from January 16th to 18th, 2010. Dream A Dream will be presenting the project proposal before an eminent jury for the final round.
A short anecdote
Hema is one of the children in a Learn IT batch (computer education) who has been a part of Dream A Dream programs for 2 years now. Anju Lavina, Dream A Dream Staff narrates her experience with Hema.
I have been observing Hema since she joined the Learn IT program last year. It’s encouraging to see the progress she has made. Her baseline evaluation showed low scores on all the life-skill parameters. Just 18-20 months into Dream A Dream programs, Hema has become assertive, takes initiative and developed a good understanding of the IT concepts being taught. Now she is the first to answer the questions. She leads the team in most team work and confidently makes presentations in the class.
Children and volunteers alike have been impacted by Dream A Dream programs. A few reflections from a volunteer and a child who have been a part of Dream A Dream programs.
“I really look forward to the mentoring program. Everyone thinks we are useless and rowdy. No adult has ever come to us and said we would like to be your friend. I feel happy when I think of that. Dream A Dream really cares for children like me.” ~ A child in the Dream Mentoring Program
“An example of how I love their spirit is one day the girls forgot the cones that they use as goal posts in the auto rickshaw. The kids didn’t even pause for a moment- they got coconut shells and played with those as goals instead. I also came across problems like the cows on the field that I would never ever imagine happening in the United States. We played around cows sometimes, which was kind of funny to me! Nothing kept these kids from playing, not even rain. One day it was pouring and we all got soaked, but we played anyway. They only get to play football three days a week, and they were so enthusiastic about it that I had to be enthusiastic as well! They played in the rain until a teacher came out and told them to come inside.” ~ Aisha, Volunteer
Finally, a BIG thank you from Dream A Dream to all of you for your support and belief in us. It means a lot to us and gives us the strength to stay focused on our vision.
We would like to hear from you about any questions and feedback you have. Please write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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