Education
 India
Project #3754

Empowering Vulnerable Young People with LifeSkills

by Dream A Dream
Vetted

When I first met Misba,9th Std, although I found her to be engaged in the activities and discussions during the session she was not serious about learning and implementing these skills in her day-to-day life. Initially, she was irregular and playful in the sessions, causing disruptions in the planned activities. In addition to this, she behaved erratically, attending other classes and activities while purposefully missing these sessions.

Misba was short-tempered, often reacting harshly when people spoke about her in a negative manner. On 30th November 2016, during the session, her potential was uncovered. As a part of ‘Reflection Time’ she shared a poem she had written with the group. The manner in which she performed her poem, took everyone’s breath away. It represented mixed emotions, ranging from anger to sorrow. We could not discuss her poem during the session due to time constraints. However, when I personally interacted with her after the session, I found out about the problems she faced. Due to her ill health, she often missed classes at school. As a result, she required extra attention in order to enable her to catch up with the rest of the class. Unfortunately, her classmate viewed the extra help she received as preferential treatment and began teasing her for the same. She further felt that whenever she tries to participate and express her thoughts during the session, her classmates ignore her and refuse to pay any attention. Consequently, she began missing the Dream a Dream sessions. Having listened to her fears, I reassured her using my personal experiences. I built her trust in me as a silent guardian and encouraged her to attend the sessions regularly.

Intuitively, I believed she would be more regular from the next session. As expected, she turned up and was enthusiastic and interactive throughout. The session focused on identifying the positive qualities that each child possessed. At the end of it, during ‘Reflection Time’ she shared her positive traits such as her friendly nature, her grasping power and her smile. She also made a genuine statement regarding her classmate’s comments about her personality, displaying her confidence and self-assurance.

She has begun to take initiative in the different activities during the sessions and has become better at expressing her thoughts and emotions. Misba says “Dream a Dream sessions have helped me gain confidence to think differently. I have let go of stage fright and have learnt to speak up and share my feelings in front of everyone. I will continue to learn more things in my life and one day I would like to become a doctor and serve the society.”

Vikram is a 9th grade student in Raza Excellent English School in Bangalore, India.  He is a calm young person who keeps his thoughts to himself. Vikram wasn’t very enthusiastic in participating in the After School Life Skills through Sports sessions and wouldn’t respond to anything his facilitator Raghu or fellow classmates said. After spending some time with Vikram, Raghu asked him why did he always look sad and what is keeping him from participating in the sessions. Vikram did not have an answer to that question. Hence, Raghu decided to give Vikram the space he needed.

A few weeks later Vikram approached Raghu and said he wanted to talk. Vikram told Raghu about how his father passed away 2 years ago and how his family has been in financial crisis ever since. Vikram said he does not have anybody to help him continue his studies and that he also considered the idea of going into daily wage work. Raghu attentively heard everything Vikram talked about and decided to calmly be there for Vikram.

After a few days Raghu conducted a session about ‘building relationships and communication’. In the session Raghu talked about his own struggle to overcome difficulties and making choices in life. Raghu then paired all the young people into groups of 2 and gave them 5 minutes to share their stories with their partners. After the activity Raghu was surprised to see that Vikram was the first to share his feelings in the reflection cycle with the entire group. Vikram said he was happy to share his thoughts and felt a lot more relaxed. From that day Vikram slowly started taking initiative to lead the warm up activity of the entire group.

In the last session of the academic year, Vikram was the first to eagerly raise his hand and talk about how the After School Life Skills Program through Sports brought positive changes in his life.  Vikram said “I learnt how to lead my life and deal with difficult situations. I build good relationship with people around me and made a lot of new friends. I really want to take this learning forward and be there for others whenever they need help.”

Teachers at Raza Excellent English School are happy to inform Raghu that Vikram has significantly improved in academics and is also showing interest in extracurricular activities. When asked about his dream, Vikram told Raghu that he wants to be a football player and use sports to bring positive impact in the lives of other young people like him.

There are many young people in Dream a Dream like Vikram who truly transform in the presence of a caring and compassionate adult. Dream a Dream has till date supported 5545 young people through the After School Life Skills Program. We are committed to empower thousands of young people like Vikram. However, it is not possible without your support. Thank you for being a committed supporter and we invite you to become a regular donor by signing up for the monthly donation options presented by Global Giving.

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Robert (name changed) is a 13 year old boy, studying 8th Grade in Annaswamy School in Bangalore, India. He lives with his parents, elder sister and a brother who are both in Pre-University College. His father works as a painter and mother as a housemaid. Robert has been part of Dream a Dream’s After School Life Skills Program through Sports for 3 years.

Robert’s teachers recognized him as an intelligent student but he was familiar to be the most notorious boy in the class. He would never listen to what others had to say and would tease and trouble fellow classmates during the sessions. Faisal (name changed), Robert’s facilitator felt Robert was a smart boy capable of doing well in school and sports if he would give a chance to himself.

When Faisal conducted a session about the topic “Re-Silent” he observed that Robert was disturbing fellow classmates, roaming around, and was trying to gain everyone’s attention. Faisal figured out that there was something that was disturbing Robert and making him uncomfortable.

After the session ended, Faisal decided to relate himself to Robert and share some of his own experiences in the reflection circle. Faisal talked about his childhood when he wouldn’t listen to the adults in his life be it his teachers or parents and how he would often get beat up because of his behavior and how angry or lonely he felt at times. After Faisal shared his experiences, 3 young people in the group came forward and shared their thoughts. All throughout the reflection circle Robert was silent and did not utter a single word. Faisal decided to be patient and give Robert the space and time he needed. In the next week Faisal observed that Robert was calm and kept to himself. Faisal asked if he wanted to share anything and Robert replied “nothing”.

In the following week, after the session ended and Faisal was packing his belongings to leave, Robert went up to him and said “Coach I want to talk.” Robert opened up and talked about how often he got scolded at home and school for his anger and adamant behavior and how sad and lonely he felt at all times. He felt nobody ever listens to him at school and he is ignored at home too. 

In that moment Faisal understood Robert was a young boy who is asking for empathy, care and someone to listen to. The reason for Robert’s anger and frustration was the lack of attention and understanding he wanted but didn’t receive from the people in his life. That day, Faisal had a conversation with Robert and put him in a safe space with a promise that he would be there to listen to Robert’s thoughts and feelings.

Robert later started participating in all the activities with energy and would come forward to support others whenever his teammates were in crisis. He even took initiative to lead activities to challenge himself to control and manage his anger and shared his thoughts and ideas with the group. 

There are many young people in Dream a Dream like Robert who truly transform in the presence of a caring and compassionate adult. Dream a Dream has till date supported 5545 young people through the After School Life Skills Program. We are committed to empower thousands of young people like Robert. However, it is not possible without your support. Thank you for being a committed supporter and we invite you to become a regular donor by signing up for the monthly donation options presented by GlobalGiving.

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Ramya (Name changed) is a 12 year old girl studying 6th Grade in Sadguru Sai Baba School in Bangalore, India. She comes from a family of 4 members. Her father is an auto rickshaw driver and mother a daily wage worker on construction sites nearby the community they live in. Ramya also has an elder sister.

Ramya always felt she had the potential to transform herself and perform better in school, but did not have a platform to express her talent albeit. This was when she was introduced to Dream a Dream’s After School Life Skills Program in the Medium of Arts at the age of 11. In the beginning days, Ramya was hesitant to interact with her friends and classmates. She would not say more than 3 to 4 words to anybody around her due to her fear of getting teased. Hence she was reluctant to attend Dream a Dream’s sessions too.

In the first session conducted by Dream a Dream, Ramya stuck to her friend Lakshmi and was content interacting only with her friend. The same pattern continued day after day. Observing this, Dream a Dream’s Life Skills facilitator spent a few minutes with Ramya to understand her better. Through the conversation with the facilitator, Ramya opened up and explained about her fear of interacting with people. The facilitator then understood Ramya’s issues and keeping them in mind, came up with an activity called “The Tom and Jerry Game” in which young people in the session move around to mingle and know each other in an interesting manner. That day for the first time Ramya responded in the session. She moved around and interacted with the other girls and boys in her class. In the next sessions she herself willingly came forward into the reflection circle and shared her thoughts.

After joining the Dream a Dream’s After School Life Skills Program, Ramya could measure the changes in her life. A few months after joining the program, she gained the confidence to interact better and also started coming forward to initiate the activities. It has been 3 years now and Ramya enjoys being a part of the sessions. Ramya says Dream a Dream’s facilitators are always supportive and create a safe space for her. She feels people around her now understand her emotions.

Dream a Dream believes that every young person is unique and responds to a caring and compassionate adult in their life. With this intention every facilitator in Dream a Dream works to create a safe space for young people coming from vulnerable backgrounds to attend Dream a Dream’s programs. We have till date impacted more than 60,000 young people each year through our programs. Thank you for being a committed supporter. We invite you to join us by becoming a regular donor by signing up for the monthly donation options presented by Global Giving. 

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Afreen (name changed) is a 17 year old girl studying at Government College in Bangalore, India. She belongs to a family of 6 members and she is the third of four children. As her father is the only source of income for the family, they were unable to meet the necessary financial requirements and thus faced problems. Afreen wanted to help them and reduce their burden. But her parents insisted that she study as she was too young to help them. When Afreen was in 10th Grade, Dream a Dream’s Career Connect team had visited her school and conducted a Career Awareness Session. Later, on the last day of her 10th Grade final exams, she got a call from the centre informing about the free computer training program being conducted at Career Connect and inviting her to join the course. She immediately agreed as she felt it was a good opportunity.

Initially, at the Career Connect, Afreen was a very fearful, shy and a quiet girl who did not talk to people much, especially with boys. But the activities that were conducted in the Career Connect Program slowly erased her fears. She was hesitant to talk to her peers in the beginning but there was a gradual change in her and she started communicating when she did not understand something.

Afreen says the Life Skills Program at Career Connect taught her how to express herself and communicate with people. She also got a very rare opportunity of being a part of the camp conducted by the Centre at Yelahanka in Bangalore and got a chance to showcase the art of mehendi designing. The facilitators encouraged her and asked her to start working on designing. She also started making earrings but after some time she did not know how to take her talent further. The facilitators then asked Afreen to present her work at the centre where she got help and ideas about how to work on different designs. She continued her interest and also got paid from one of her neighbours. Career Connect helped her join courses such as tailoring, dance, drawing and crafts and also awarded her a scholarship. She started pursuing her art work from home and now feels very happy about it.  Afreen dreams to become a designer. She started going to college too. But, being a commerce student she cannot become a designer and hence wants to continue her interest in her own way.

Dream a Dream has encouraged 3059 young people like Afreen till date in 2015 through the Career Connect Program and the enrolment numbers are still going up. There are many young people like Afreen who are dreaming big and waiting for opportunities to come their way. Dream a Dream is committed to empower thousands of young adults like Afreen for a better future. However, it is not possible without your support. Thank you for being a committed supporter and we invite you to become a regular donor by signing up for the monthly donation options presented by Global Giving.

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Organization Information

Dream A Dream

Location: Bangalore, Karnataka - India
Website: http:/​/​www.dreamadream.org
Project Leader:
Vishal Talreja
vishalta@gmail.com
Bangalore, Karnataka India
$59,150 raised of $100,000 goal
 
753 donations
$40,850 to go
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