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.