3000 children, 97 batches, across 16 locations in Bangalore are meaningfully engaged 1-2 times a week in core Life Skills programs. This has largely being possible due to the commitments and support from donors like YOU, who have helped us build this organization – one child at a time.
A child like Girish.
Girish is a 17-year old, young man currently pursuing his 2nd year of pre-university education. During this 9th grade, he was introduced to Makkala Jagriti, an NGO that was running a learning centre in his neighbourhood. He joined the learning centre to pick up some computer skills. It was during these visits that he was introduced to Dream A Dream and its various life skills programs. Girish was also keen to learn and play football but was unable to join the school team because he didn’t know how to play the game. Dream A Dream introduced the “Life Skills Thru Football” program for children and young people at Makkala Jagriti and Girish saw an opportunity to make his dream come true.
Girish initially struggled to pick up the skills. In his own words, “I was not at all playing correctly at beginning stage. But my coach instead of scolding me or punishing me, he encouraged me a lot. That encouragement and support of my coach and my parents gave me a will power in playing football.”
During his 10th grade, he became the captain of the School Football Team, a reflection of the self-confidence he was picking up along with the football skills. He ably led his school team in many tournaments. In one such tournament, Girish mentions that they reached upto the semi-finals and then lost a tough match. He says, “My team was very disappointed when we lost the match but I still encouraged my team.”
His passion for football continued in his college days as he continued to be an active participant in the Dream Life Skills Thru Football program. When Dream A Dream got an opportunity to send a team at a National Tournament in Nagpur, Girish was a natural choice. Girish’s excitement was visible, “That was the first time I went so far to play football. In that tournament we met with players from other states, they were very friendly with us. We enjoyed that, but coming to match, it was very tough tournament. Even then we didn’t give up and played hard. We tried our best but unluckily we lost in semi-finals. The whole team was very disappointed, but still our coach was encouraging us. On the last day of the tournament, our team got the Fair Play Award. That moment made us very happy.”
The tournament was also a platform to select a National Team for the Homeless World Cup to be hosted in Paris in August. 3 players from the Dream A Dream Team were short-listed to go for the National selections. Hence, Girish and 2 of his team-mates were back in Nagpur for the National selections. It was a tough group since there were young people from many different states and Girish put in his best effort. A few weeks later when Girish was informed that he was one of the young people selected for the team that will represent India at the Homeless World Cup, his happiness knew no bounds. He said, “I am very happy to represent our great Nation. My aim is to play good in the match and bring a good name to our India. I am sure that I will achieve in this because my parents and my coaches blessings will be always on me .And I am very thankful to Dream A Dream and KVSN.”
Being the eldest son in the family, Girish is well aware of his responsibilities and the expectations his parents have of him. Girish admits, “My parents have a lot of expectations on me that I will perform good in my studies and as I am interested in football, they expect me to perform well in that too. I am confident that I will perform well in both and I have to - because my father works as a gardener and my mother works as a maid. Keeping this in mind I am doing good in my studies and waiting for a good opportunity in football. Later on in my future I will have to look after my family.”
“What a pleasure it was to spend time with him in Paris! I think over time I have grown to understand your organization and it's philosophies more and more and in my opinion Girish encompasses all that you want to achieve. He was a great ambassador for Dream A Dream, Slum Soccer and above all was a fabulous representative of Team India. It might be that it is his nature to be as polite and friendly as he is, but I think your work has gone a long way in moulding him into the fine young man that he is today. You have with you a gem of a boy. Cherish him and I'm certain he will repay you all for your efforts.
All in all, and in retrospect it was a fabulous start to our association with regards to the Homeless World Cup. I look forward to having more of your boys and at least one girl on the Indian team to Mexico City 2012.” ~ Akshay Madhavan, Slum Soccer post Girish’s participation at the Homesless World Cup in Paris in 2011.
We at Dream A Dream are tremendously proud of Girish for this commitment, determination and faith in his dreams. He reinforces our belief that when children and young people are given the right learning opportunities and guidance they will bloom and build in them the confidence to take on life challenges.
We look forward to this year with excitement and hope. Everyday brings a smile on our face when we see a child taking on challenges in their life with determination and commitment. You are an integral part of this journey and YOUR support makes all the difference.
We have just launched a campaign to enroll 200 donors in our monthly giving program. You can sign-up to be a monthly giver at GlobalGiving and ensure that every child at Dream A Dream is able to graduate successfully from our Life Skills program just as Vishnu did.
Thank you. Do visit our website for continued updates at www.dreamadream.org
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