Smile Magzine_published by Young people
This is the story of a fourteen-year-old girl who came out of her comfort zone and created a safe space for herself and her friends to open up and communicate freely.
Shafiya is a 14-year-old girl studying in 9th std at Florida English School.
She has been part of the Dream a Dream After School Life Skills program for six years through the Creative Arts Programme. She belongs to a middle-class family. Her father works as a helper in a steel factory, and her mother is a housewife. She has four elder brothers; two brothers have completed their graduation and are taking care of the farming in their hometown, one brother is pursuing 2nd PUC, and one more brother is pursuing his B com.
Shafiya was a reserved girl who was very quiet during the session; she mingled with only a close circle of friends, was possessive of who her friends spent time with, and expected a lot of attention from her friends.
In one session, the Facilitator noticed that Shafiya was very interested in drawing; she was so involved in her drawing that she concentrated on the picture even when her friends disturbed her.
This observation helped the Facilitator understand her interests; later, the Facilitator tried to observe her group involvement during a few sessions. The Facilitator felt that Shafiya had the potential to be a leader with proper guidance. But her lack of confidence was inhabiting her to work on this.
To bring out her leadership skills in Shafiya, the Facilitator gave her the chance to lead the group with ideas of drawing. In one session, she was excited and tried to demonstrate a few easy designs to the group. At the end of the session, she said she liked the session and was excited to lead the group.
In the next session, the Facilitator divided the group and put Shafiya and her friends in different groups. Shafiya revolted immediately and refused to join a group that did not have her friends; the Facilitator asked her to give it a try as she had so many design ideas she wanted to share, and everybody in the class would benefit from it.
Shafiya was unhappy and sat in the group silently; the activity required Shafiya to be blindfolded and her group to give her the instructions to complete the drawing at hand; this activity got Shafiya talking to start asking questions and the following instruction from the group. As a group, they could complete the picture blindfolded and won.
In the reflection circle, Shafiya shared, "I am happy that I agreed to do the activity with a group that didn't have my friends for the first time. I learned that I had so much to learn from others in my class and that just being with my friends stopped my learning".
From the next session, she started involving herself with any group regardless of where her friends were.
To push Shafiya to the next level where her art and leadership skills could shine, the Facilitator got her to join the Art for resilience event. The event looked to create a forum for young people where they can meet other young people from our different partner schools and present their artwork and share ideas.
Shafiya was wholly involved in the event, and she enjoyed herself with the young people from the different schools. She did not hesitate when it was her chance to lead a new group. She tried to mingle with the opposite gender, and she stated her opinion boldly in the reflection circle without fear.
After this event, the Facilitator asked Shafiya to share her experience with the Art for resilience event and the learnings.
Shafiya, with great pride, shared her experience. Later in the session, she started creating a safe space for her friends to share in the group.
For Shafiya, thriving is her ability to come out from her comfort zone to interact and facilitate conversation, work on her leadership skills, and create a safe space for her friends to open up and communicate.
This transformation was possible because of the Life Skills program conducted by Dream a Dream's After School Life Skills program at our partner schools.
About Dream a Dream
Started in 1999, Dream a Dream is a recognized, award-winning, registered charitable trust empowering children and young people from vulnerable backgrounds to overcome adversity and thrive in the 21stCentury across India. Currently, we work with 10,000 young people a year through our two innovation labs–AfterSchoolLifeSkillsProgram and CareerConnectProgram, based in Bangalore. We have trained more than 35,000 teachers/educators from six states and have impacted over 1.5 million children through strategic partnerships with state governments in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Karnataka, and Jharkhand. We work on a strong collaborative approach with local charities, corporates, volunteers, governments, expert consultants, and national and international strategic partners.
With the Delhi Government on the Happiness Curriculum, our project was selected as a 2021 WISEAwards winner! Together with six other projects from across the globe, we are recognized by the WorldInnovation Summit for Education for providing innovative & impactful solutions to global education challenges.
DreamaDreamwasrecognizedinthetop50last-milerespondersforCovid-19inIndiabyWorldEconomicForum. Wearealsohumbledtobe supported by MackenzieScottamong 286globalempoweringorganizations that the world needs to hear about, and we are delighted that in 2021 Dream a Dream has been a Great Place to Work-Certified™. For the third time in a row, HundrED’s annual Global Collection has recognized our work as one of the leading innovations in K12 education. Over the last 20 years, Dream a Dream has helped close to a million children develop the life skills to thrive through our award-winning approach. Youcanreadmore about us here.
A brief introduction to our program
AFTER SCHOOL LIFE SKILLS PROGRAM
In our After School Life Skills Programme, we use creative arts and football as mediums to engage and develop critical life skills among young people between the ages of 8 to 15 years. This program is an innovation lab where new approaches to life skills development are introduced, demonstrated, documented, evaluated, and fed back into a larger framework for reimagining learning for young people in the country.
To measure the improvements in life skills amongst young people, we use the Life Skills Assessment Scale (LSAS*).
Highlights from the Program
- 3000 mask and 20 (5 liters) can of sanitizer have been distributed in 20 partner schools to support them in sanitizing the classrooms and ensure a smooth reopening of schools and resumption of our Life Skill interventions.
- A Focused group conducted a discussion with 30 people made up of 10 principals, ten teachers, and ten parents. The objective of the meeting was to understand their preparedness to reopen the school for young people and, at the same time, equip them to take appropriate safety measures and follow safety protocols by hearing the insights shared by all the participants.
- The British Council invites collaborative proposals for arts and culture projects from recipients of the Connections Through Culture India-Wales and India-Northern Ireland grants scheme for the India-UK Together program. We have selected nine young people from our program to be representatives of Dream a Dream and share India's Art and culture.
- Dream a Dream organized Life Skills day after two years of the pandemic. Over 80 students from 20 different schools participated and engaged in fun and colorful activities like cooking without fire, theatre, standup comedy, reels, poetry reading, story illustration, and football juggling drills.
- The After School Life Skill Development Program launched The Smile Magazine, a magazine designed and co-created with children from schools.
- Dream a Dream organized Graduation day for over 900 young people from 20 partner schools who completed their life skills journey with us and are empowered to make and be the change! Young people enjoyed their day witnessing different cultural programs and sharing their stories and journey with Dream a Dream.
Testimonials from the Programme
"We received financial support when my father lost his job at the factory. The solidarity support helped us pay our rent; we received support at the right time, which helped us the staff from Dream a Dream kept calling us and asking us about our welfare".
-Shashikala After School Programme
"Dream a Dream is supporting us a lot. In the previous lockdown through the program, we used to get the nutrition kit, and they conducted sessions for us even in the hard times, which was helpful for us and kept us positive. Even during this lockdown, when we felt depressed as Covid was affecting many people in the state, we were terrified to move out to work. When our family was not getting support, even for ration cards, we asked for the support of Dream a Dream. I thank Dream a Dream for this support".
-Ruquiya from the Florida English school
"I have worked as a yoga teacher at Siri and Vishnu school. The impact of covid-19 has been hard on the education system; without any income during the lockdown, no way of feeding the family, and continuous pressure from my son's college to pay the fee, it was a tough time for us. Dream a Dream offered to provide us financial support every month till schools reopened and the situation improved. The financial assistance protected my family from so many problems".
- Shobha Teacher at Siri and Vishnu School
Life Skills Day 2022