Dream a Dream

Focus: Children and Youth, Volunteerism, Education, Sports

TEENAGE trouble is universal – but more so for the 140million in India whose families can’t provide the emotional support or role models every adolescent needs. This is the gap Dream a Dream are trying to fill.

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.

Help Dream a Dream change lives

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CURRENT PROJECTS
Life Skills

YOUNGSTERS from impoverished backgrounds face so much adversity they are often psychologically impaired. Which means they find it difficult to engage with others or make good decisions about their lives – life skills that come naturally to many. Dream a Dream use the medium of sports and arts to demonstrate and develop these critical abilities to help troubled teens cope with life’s challenges. Rs 4,500 will pay for a four-day camp or Rs 8,000 for 40 hours mentorship for one young person.

Career Connect

BASED at two learning centres in Bengaluru, it equips 14-19-year-olds with knowledge and skills to make a healthy transition into employment. Besides career awareness workshops, DaD teach English, communication and money management skills and provide access to internships, vocational training and jobs. Manjunath, 18, is one beneficiary. Once struggling at school, he now works at a city clothing store and topped their sales calendar in his first week! Each Manjunath costs DaD Rs 4,000.

Teacher Development

DaD have taken inspiration from an established global model for unlocking the potential of young people and adapted it to develop these skills in teachers and adult mentors. The core learning is that adolescents thrive when they feel supported and understood, instead of being reprimanded and put down. When teachers develop empathy for their wards, the tutees’ resistance to authority breaks down and learning becomes a collaborative process. The training cost per teacher is Rs 8,000-10,000.

About Dream a Dream
Testimonials

The most amazing summer Internship! I’ve gained more good friends, more good memories, and more good experience than I could have imagined. It was such a great learning experience.

Febin Bellamy, Georgetown University, Washington DC

I never expected volunteering with Dream a Dream to change me. Working with young people directly gave me a new perspective. Their child-centric approach to all their programmes is something worth experiencing. Highly recommended.

Kumar Prateek, Bengaluru

Dream a Dream opens the gate for young people to see the world and realize their individual potential. The long lasting impact on a kid’s life and hence society at large is humongous.

Rudramuni B, Bengaluru

THE TEAM
  • Ramanan KS Chief Programme Officer
  • Vishal Talreja Chief Executive Officer
  • Suchetha Bhat Chief Operating Officer