We have some fantastic news to start the New Year!!
In November last year, “The Re-image Learning Challenge” was floated by The LEGO Foundation and Ashoka with the aim of transforming the way the world learns. Innovators, educators, academics, and many others from 63 countries submitted more than 630 of the most innovative, impactful and sustainable learning projects to “The Re-imagine Learning Challenge". We are proud to announce that out of all of them, Dream a Dream was chosen as 1 of 10 champions with the most innovative, impactful and sustainable projects aimed at transforming the way the world learns.
Upon receiving the award, at the LEGO Idea Conference in Billund, Co-Founder & CEO Vishal Talreja said, “Dream a Dream is deeply honoured by the LEGO Foundation and Ashoka’s recognition. The award stands as a testimony to the work we believe in—infusing play into learning experiences for young people and teachers, and thereby developing critical life skills to help young people navigate life’s many challenges.”
Lego Foundation recently made two videos around the championship and you can view them on the links below.
For us the award is a validation of the many stories, like Keerthi's, who overcome the challenges that life throws at them and reach for the stars.
Keerthi is 18 years old. He has two sisters. His father works as a security guard and mother works in a garment factory. Inspite of coming from a vulnerable background, Keerthi felt that he had the potential to reach greater heights. He was a bundle of talent, albeit without a platform to express it. This is when he got introduced to our Career Connect Program. After the program, he could see a measureable change in his life.
“Previously, I used to have a carefree attitude to life. I lacked commitment, focus and a sense of responsibility towards my own future. I always believed that I am intelligent, talented and good at studies, but I did not realize the importance of hard work, commitment or discipline in life that one ought to have to become successful. I also learnt that it is important to take initiatives and come out of one’s comfort zone in order to realize one’s potential,” reminisces Keerthi.
Life skills sessions at Career Connect played a pivotal role in his transformation. With a beaming smile, he says, “Life skills sessions were an eye opener to me. The facilitators are caring and compassionate. Through these sessions, they help us to reflect on ourselves and this combined with peer learning also provided me the ideal atmosphere to introspect and accelerate my personal growth.”
Keerthi was able to take up a job as a trainee with distinguished retail outlets like KFC, Café Coffee Day and Westside with the placement support provided by Career Connect program. This was a paradigm shift in his career. He explains, “Before I joined Career Connect, I used to work part time as a construction worker. It was an extremely laborious job. After I joined Career Connect, I was able to use my social skills to interact with customers at KFC, CCD, and Westside which boosted my morale and increased my self-esteem.”
Keerthi, today, displays immense confidence, and recently hosted the international “Change The Script” conference held by Dream A Dream. He was hugely appreciated for his communication skills. Now, through Dream A Dream, he is short-listed for a one year exchange program sponsored by the US Consulate. His story has inspired all of us.
There are many young people like Keerthi, who are dreaming big and are waiting for opportunities to turn their dreams into reality. It is Dream A Dream’s prerogative and a pledge to support them to the fullest. However, we cannot do it without your support. Any contribution, whether it’s USD 5, USD 250 or USD 2500 will go directly to support these bright and talented young people. By making a small contribution, you can make a big difference in their lives.
Wishing you an Inspiring 2015! With troubling events dominating the news and the national conversation, it's easy to feel powerless and cynical these days. However, there are 30,000 reasons to also feel optimistic. One of them being Padma.
Padma was introduced to Dream A Dream through a computer skills programme we were conducting in the Round Table School. She was in the 8th grade and came across as a very quiet girl, with little confidence and unable to interact with others. She was part of various Dream A Dream programmes through the schooling years, struggling through her low self-esteem, but always been a diligent participant. At Dream A Dream, we believe, when a young person turns up week-on-week for a programme, they are showcasing their commitment and we value, validate and celebrate that.
Padma pursued her Pre-University education after completing her schooling and became a participant at the Dream Connect Center run by Dream A Dream close to her home. She dropped out of education after her 1st year of Pre-university education. Academics did not interest her and she was struggling to cope with the stress. Her family pressurized her to continue education and admitted her to a government run Industrial Training Institute (ITI) for vocational training. She dropped out of it in 2 months.
Padma’s interest was fuelled again when we introduced an opportunity to pursue a year-long dance scholarship programme with Lourd Vijay Dance School (LVDS). Being a passionate dancer, she decided to apply. She didn’t believe that she would get through it, she kept saying, “I’m bad at it, and I think I’ll just try. I think there are so many people who dance better than me; I think they’ll get it, not really me.”
Padma was elated with happiness when she was selected for the programme. This was the breakthrough in life she was looking for and she had got it. She said, “After dropping out of ITI, I was back to square one – sitting at home, doing household work and nothing else. I am sick of sitting at home. I felt hopeless but right now, I feel like I’m in a new world.”
The next challenge to Padma was to convince her mother to let her be on the program. It’s a good thing that young people make their choice, but if their parents’ support is not there, it’s difficult to proceed.
Padma’s mother was disappointed that Padma didn’t continue her education and ITI. Her dropping out caused a lot of financial loss to her family because they paid a huge amount for the course fees. Padma’s mother blamed her daughter for their woes but ultimately said, “At the end of the day, it’s her choice. It’s awesome that she has you; she has Dream Connect and other people to support, which she is not utilizing. I don’t think anyone would get this opportunity.”
Padma’s eyes opened widely and she dropped her jaw in excitement and happiness upon hearing her mother saying it’s her choice. I think that’s something that surprised her. She says, “I didn’t realize all this while that my mother was letting me make my own choice.”
Padma transformed when she found her dream for life. She would eagerly share about her experiences at LVDS, share stories from her days with excitement and confidence and express her joy abundantly. She would confidently interact with other young people from diverse backgrounds and had found her self-esteem.
Recently she was invited to be a guest speaker at an Alumni Meet at Dream A Dream. Padma stood in front of 60 young adults, volunteers and guests and shared her story with confidence inspiring other young people to pursue their dreams. She had truly become a changemaker.
‘I have learnt so many things from Dream a Dream. I have got an opportunity in LVDS. This is the wonderful opportunity in my life. This is the most useful platform. It allows me to show my capacity or my talents with others and I am enjoying the classes. I want to become a professional dancer in future. I am really putting my full of full efforts into the dance and great opportunity in my life. Thanks a lot to Dream A Dream and L. V. D. S. Thank you so much for giving the opportunity to me.’
Today, Padma has successfully completed her course and was immediately hired by LVDS as a dance teacher in one of their school-based programmes. She is teaching dance and life skills for children from difficult backgrounds. She is confident, proud and living her dream.
In the ups and downs of young people, supportive adults standing rock solid with empathy and trust that young people have the abilities and capabilities to make their own life choices and have the grit to deal with the implications of those choices, is critical. Celebrating the fact that young people are turning up, not giving up, giving them the space to come into their own, trusting their choices have been key to Dream A Dream’s approach to transforming lives.
Young people like Padma are Changing the Script of their lives and will shape our world with empathy, resilience and a love for life. They are our hope. In their stories, Dream A Dream has found the strength to dream of a different future. Dream A Dream is proud to invest in thousands of Padma’s and walk the journey of transformation with them. But our ability to do so, year after year, also depends on you, our community of friends and partners.
Let’s celebrate young people who will give us a better, more hopeful future. Please consider continuing to support us so we give wings to their dreams. Any contribution, whether it's USD 5, USD 250 or USD 2500 will go directly to support these amazing young people. Together, we can build a brighter future.
Thank you and visit us at www.dreamadream.org
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!
The Dream Team
Dear Co dreamers,
It gives us an immense pleasure to share with you that Girish and Mahesh graduates of our programme 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 )
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.
Zoombas! Yes, that's what we will call ourselves, Bopanna and Nilisha (facilitators of camp) shouted out to the group of adults who were coming for the camp. That kick started the journey of four fun filled, highly energetic and enthusiastic days with 14 adults and 29 young people. The excitement itself started building up in the long bus journey with all the campers having a ball shouting, screaming and singing all along. Reaching the camp site, I was totally awestruck with the awesome scenic beauty which surrounds it; calm and peaceful, completely away from the noisy, traffic loaded, polluted Bangalore roads. It was indeed a different new world.
As the 'ZOOMBAS', were split into different family group, so was I. I was part of a family group, which we named as " Silver Springs' and there were five young people present. I am sharing in the following the strong changes I observed in two of them:
Rakshit doing his tenth standard initially he was totally an introvert, would not contribute much to the group and would be just by himself. But slowly I started seeing him coming out of his small cocoon and displaying his very strong qualities. He was part of the gender stadium and came up with a lot of opinions which actually added a lot of value to the discussion the group was already having. And then I see him taking on to facilitate a workshop on Science crafts by himself. I was very happy and proud that he actually started opening up and bringing his inbuilt talents to the forefront.
Nisha studying tenth standard hails from Delhi and due to which she cannot understand Kannada very well. In the first two days, I used to observe her to be very quiet and not contributing much. She would just be present but then she started getting more comfortable and started asking for Hindi translations for different instructions that were given. She started getting more involved and putting forward her ideas and suggestions in the family group. During the youth led workshops, I was amazed to observe that she also took up to facilitate a workshop on Mehendi design and that too with sketch pens. There was only one person who was getting his hand imprinted on but the amount of concentration and dedication which she had towards what she was doing was simply amazing. There were others asking her different queries and she was responding back patiently and was in the same time engrossed in what she was doing. Finally, I see her come up on stage and express her entire feelings to the entire crowd. It was indeed very heart touching!
I am very much pleased that I was indeed part of this beautiful experience.
Please scroll down to see a few pictures from the programme. We look forward for your continued support and an enduring relationship.
We are excited to share with you the journey of Dream A Dream of the last quarter of the financial year 2013-14. One of the main highlights of the programme is the Life Skills Assessment Scale developed by Dr. David Pearson and Dr. Fiona Kennady from UK who have been working together with Dream A Dream over the past years to develop and publish a standardized and reliable impact measure for Dream A Dream’s Life Skills Programmes for young people from vulnerable backgrounds. Their immense work has resulted in a paper co-authored by them with Dream A Dream Cofounder and Chief Executive Officer, Vishal Talreja. This has been accepted for publication in Social Behavior and Personality, an international journal for March 2014.
With this report I would want to share with you the story of Alisha (name changed) as observed by our facilitator followed by a few highlights of our organization and programmes.
Meet Alisha a 14 year old girl who is studying in the 8th and 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.
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 continued her one-on-one conversation with Alisha with a focus to build her strength, resilience and ability to deal with this discrimination. 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, Alisha became interested in attending the sessions and gradually the other participants noticed Alisha’s interest and talent.
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.
The facilitator gradually noticed that Alisha started taking leadership, engaging with others and learning to deal with her feelings when others were teasing her.
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.
Organisational and Programme Highlights:
“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.
Please scroll down to see our programme pictures :)
We look forward to your continued support and enduring relationship.Thank You!!
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.