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About the NGO
Dream a Dream
Meet Anitha, the daughter of an alcoholic autorickshaw driver and a garment factory worker. When she joined DaD aged 14, she was a surly, uncooperative teen who shunned all activities – including football – designed to help her behavioural problems.
Today, at 22, she is the organisation’s first female football mentor, having taken to the beautiful game like Jess did in 'Bend it Like Beckham'!
At DaD, they target youngsters from urban slum communities, migrant families, shelter homes and those living in poverty, among whom the dropout rate is high and skills set low for a scarce job market.
DaD believe the best way to help young people from vulnerable backgrounds tackle adversity and develop into responsible adults is to empower them with life skills through the medium of sport and the arts, and provide them with role models from the community.
Founder Vishal Talreja gives an example of how it works: “A 13-year-old, who came from a violent family background, beat up another child when given a hockey stick.
“A caring coach decided to give him a unique punishment – 30 minutes extra every session to hit 25-30 balls into the goal.
“In a year, this young man channeled all his aggression into the sport and became the best team player. Today, he has completed his college and works at Dream a Dream as a Life Skills Facilitator.”
Community volunteers – comprising college students and working professionals in the main – form a crucial part of this young, dynamic organisation. Many act as one-to-one mentors for the disturbed adolescents, helping them overcome difficult situations and engage with society.
The results speak for themselves – DaD have empowered over 100,000 young people (working with their partner NGOs and schools). They sensitize more than 2,000 volunteers a year and have trained 1,000 teachers and adult workers. As a testament to their effectiveness and impact DaD have also won many awards and accolades.
But as DaD work primarily out of Bengaluru, their biggest challenge lies in scaling up operations to other metros for which they need help – be it funds to sponsor life skills trainers and workshops, or volunteers for mentorship.