Unlock Smiles

The joy in learning
The joy in learning

Dear Donors,

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

Experiencing the joy in learning
Experiencing the joy in learning


Young People at Football for Hope Festival, Brazil
Young People at Football for Hope Festival, Brazil

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


Dreamers @ TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014
Dreamers @ TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014

Dear Co dreamers,

We are very happy to share you our journey of first quarter of the year 2014-15. The main highlight was we participated in TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014. State Street Global Advisors (SSGA), a reputed multinational company come forrward to run supporting Dream A Dream.  

Along with this report, I want to share with you a story of two of our graduates who selected for a scholarship programme to study in the USA, followed by a few highlights of Dream A Dream programme. 

Overcoming modest background, two graduates of our programme  are all set to take the long flight to America. Girish and Mahesh  will fly on July 18th 2014 to the US on a fully-paid scholarship to do a one-year certificate programme in Business Management/Administration and Early Child Education respectively at Mesa Community College in Arizona. 

20-year-old Girish, a second-year B Com student at Vijaya College, comes from a modest background; his father is a car driver and his mother a maid. He also works as a life skills facilitator at Dream A Dream.  Girish said, "I wanted to study business administration because I want to set up my own business in the future. I still can't believe that I cracked the scholarship." 

Mahesh, a second-year BA student at Vijaya Evening College, who works as an art skills facilitator said, "I get to work with children aged nine and above. I wanted to pursue a course where I would get to teach children from three years on." 

They plan to come back to Bangalore once they complete their courses to finish their course at Vijaya College. Girish said, "We couldn't have got through if we were not in the middle of our course. Our family was worried that we might not complete our studies because they have saved on our college fees. But we, with the help of colleagues at Dream A Dream, managed to convince them that it was for our own good. Our college principal, too, had to call our parents up to convince them." For the proud, hard-working parents, it's a huge moment. 

Mahesh's mother, a housewife, said, "I cannot believe our son is going to America. Everybody dreams of going there one day, and my son is actually going. We are very proud of him, but I am equally sad because this is the first time he will be staying away from us for a year."

  • 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.
  • Our Co-founder Vishal Talreja was invited for a talk at TedxBangalore.  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,

Young People @ Football For Hope Festival Brazil
Young People @ Football For Hope Festival Brazil
Young People with Volunteers @ a Funday
Young People with Volunteers @ a Funday
Teachers @ TDP Workshop
Teachers @ TDP Workshop
Young People with Volunteers @ a Camp
Young People with Volunteers @ a Camp
@ Sky Scraper Dash Event
@ Sky Scraper Dash Event


Dear Codreamers,

We are delighted to share with you the journey of Dream A Dream from the last quarter of the financial year 2013-14. We are also super exited to let you know that we are taking part in TCS World 10K Bangalore 2014, a biggest marathon in the city will be held on 18th May. With this report I would want to share with you the story of Shruthi (name changed) followed by a few highlights of our organization and programmes.

Meet Shruthi a 12 year old girl studying in the 6th grade at Shama Vidya Shaala, Bangalore. Shruthi has been part of the Dream Life Skills through Football Programme since August 2012.

According to the facilitator, Shruthi is a simple and well-spoken girl. She is regular participant and enjoys learning football and the various activities at the session. 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. Shruthi was very enthusiastic and started off with lots of energy and excitement. In about 20-minutes, Shruthi 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. Shruthi shared that she was not getting the ball even though she tried and started weeping. I heard and validated her. At the end of the session, during reflection time, Shruthi shared how she felt unseen with the rest of her team-mates. I used that as an opportunity to also share a similar story from my life when I felt unseen and alone and everyone seemed to understand. Shruthi felt reassured and that story helped her feel positive about life.”

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 Shruthi 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 Shruthi’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.”

  • 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 be 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.
  • Engaged 5369 young people through our life skills through football and arts programme. This includes 2533 boys and 2836 ratio also 52.8% girls ratio.
  • 355 young people graduated from the core life skills programme in March 2014.
  • 36 Life Skills facilitators trained to deliver the curriculum based sessions.
  • Conducted a total of 16 camps engaging 562 young people for 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.
  • Engaged 755 young people engages in Last Mile Support programme in year 2013-14.
  • Total job placement provided for 26 Dream Connect graduates in 2013-14.
  • 44 applications for scholarships have been received so far out of which 28 have been granted scholarships.
  • As part of the ‘Kalarava” initiative, 200 graduates were engaged in new learning exposures.
  • 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.
  • Established 100 relationships in 2013-14 through 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.

We look forward to your continued support and enduring relationship. Thank You!!

With Gratitude,

Dream Team

Teacher Transformation Training
Teacher Transformation Training
Our CEO at Annual Idea Conference, LEGO Foundation
Our CEO at Annual Idea Conference, LEGO Foundation
Young People at a Sports Session
Young People at a Sports Session

Dear Co-dreamers,

We are happy to inform you that our Unlock Smiles campaign has come to a close in December 2013. Our heartfelt thank you for unlocking smiles of young people, your generous support helped us to unlock 6504 smiles by 796 people like you.

With this report I would want to share with you the story of Ashwini (name changed), from the words of our Life Skills Facilitator, Shivu followed by a few highlights of our Unlock Smiles Campaign. 

Meet Ashwini, studying in 7th Standard, who has been part of our Dream life skills programmes since the start of this year.

The Challenge: Academically, she is an average student but highly energetic in the classroom, is a good dancer and also involves herself in sports.

During the observation, it was found that she often teases boys, and hits them as well as uses abusive words towards them. But when the life skill sessions are happening, she appears to be quiet as well as shy but her energy goes up immensely, if there is an action song or games happening during the session. However the facilitator found her arguing with her class mates and using bad words, if she was asked to do something. She feels she is right and that the rest of them are wrong. This resulted in unwanted fights in the classroom.

The Change: During the session facilitator started to give her some responsibilities. At the beginning, he asked her to do an action song of the main activity which she liked to conduct. Later she was given responsibilities like distribution of materials that helped her to have at least an eye to eye contact with everyone and she slowly started to recognize everyone. It took almost a month to see some changes in her.

The facilitator was very happy to hear feedback from her class teachers and friends that she has become very active in all class room activities, raises her hand to answer questions and takes quick responsibilities in class. She even takes care of 1-3rd standard students in absence of teachers. She started accepting other students and thus everybody accepts her too.

Her friends said that they were scared to talk to Ashwini in the beginning and now it is different, they love her.

The Dream Power:  Facilitators play a key role within the Dream A Dream programmes. They create platforms for the young people in our programmes to face and overcome their challenges.

Major Highlights of Unlock Smiles:

  • Successfully unlocked 6504 smiles as against our initial target of 8000 smiles.
  • Smiles were unlocked in a variety of creative ways spread across several diverse events such as:
    • Tour De smiles - Tour de Smiles was an event organised for cycling enthusiasts to cycle for a cause on the 17th of October 2013. It attracted cyclists from across Bangalore who came to support the cause and unlock smiles. The event was organised in partnership with Decathlon who took care of the entire logistics for the event. Funds were raised through an entry of 12 smiles each. A total of 235 smiles were unlocked by 25 cyclists.
    • Trek de smiles - Owing to lack of poor marketing of the event it was not conducted as a part of the Unlock Smiles Campaign. Instead, the event was successfully run as a Volunteer Engagement Activity (Dream Funday) with 17 young people and 12 volunteers on the 7th of December 2013.
    • Soiree de Smiles - ‘Soiree de Smiles’ was Dream A Dream’s first exclusive fundraising evening, to encourage old HNI supporters to deepen their relationship with us and for potential supporters to get to know us better by becoming Smile Champions. Funds were raised through a minimum commitment of Rs.25000 to Unlock 100 smiles as an entry to the event. The event was conducted on the 22nd of December at Escape Hotels and Spa (Bricklane). There were a total of 9 donors who made pledges at the event. The event managed to unlock 1428 smiles.
    • Internal Employee Campaign - An internal campaign was run at Dream A Dream, to encourage employees to reach out to their personal networks and unlock smiles. 600 smiles unlocked with the support of employees from their personal networks.
    • School Fundraiser - ‘Forgo A Cracker’ was an initiative run by the Volunteer Engagement Team as a part of Unlock Smiles. It aimed at encouraging school students to campaign against the use of firecrackers (being a social and environmental hazard) and use that money to unlock smiles. This was run between 29th October to 10th November 2013 at NPS, Indiranagar and Oakridge International. A student from NPS Indiranagar also ran this campaign at her apartment complex, Vars Fantasy. 99 smiles were unlocked through Forgo A Cracker.
    • Campaigns at Corporates - Plan was put in place to run an ‘Unlock a Smile Day’ with 10 different companies. This involved a company dedicating one day to the campaign through e-mail blasts and encouraging their employees to unlock smiles. As a part of the Joy of Giving week, ‘First Source’ encouraged employees to donate and unlocked 761 smiles.
    • Social Media Promotions - Posts were updated on the Dream A Dream facebook page and e-mails were sent to the entire data base. 892 smiles unlocked through social media promotion.

With this campaign you have supported close to 542 young people to gain a year of life skills education. We acknowledge that this was possible because of the special people like you who have supported the dreams of these young people. Please scroll down to see a few pictures of the event. Thanks for YOUR continued support!

With Gratitude,

Dream Team

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Dream A Dream

Bangalore, Karnataka, India

Project Leader

Vishal Talreja

Bangalore, Karnataka India

Where is this project located?

Map of Unlock Smiles