LIVING A CHILDHOOD DREAM
Whether it’s to become a star sports player or a 21st century academician, Dream a Dream, a B1G1 Worthy Cause Partner, makes dreams possible for children from the most vulnerable backgrounds.
In the Indian state of Bangalore, severe abuse and distressing societal neglect is common in the lives of children from poor socio-economic backgrounds. Dream a Dream brings hope into the lives of 10,000 children suffering from abuse and abandonment each year.
We met recently with Vishal Talreja, the CEO and Co-Founder of the organisation.
And he told us a life- changing story about a boy named Prasanna.
When handed a hockey stick 11 years back, Prasanna immediately hit a child in front of him. Coming from a violent family background, the young boy was conditioned to violence as being the only means to deal with life’s challenges. What was surprising was the reaction that came from the coach of the team. Instead of being punished, Prasanna was told to play in a game of hockey, only that this time, the aggression within him was channeled into the game instead of a child beside him.
In less than 6 months, the best hockey player of the team was born. Today, Prasanna is a 22-year old Life Skills Facilitator at Dream a Dream, helping 150 other children to develop life skills. He has just completed his college education.
When I was a kid, I used to wait for the day when I would grow up and be big enough to stang against my father when he tried to beat me up or beat my mom. Today, I do not feel any anger towards my father because I realised the support i got when I was growing up is something my father never got, that's why he became who he was. So, I feel sorry for him and I want to help him, but I am not angry at him anymore.
What’s powerful in this unique life-skills approach to help children overcome adversity is the positive change in attitude and behaviour. Values such as optimism and empathy are cultivated for life. And these life skills are imparted in a fun manner involving sports, arts and career connection activities.
But that alone is not enough.
To expand the reach of this creative solution, Vishal and his team realised the need to engage teachers, educators and community workers who had a day-to-day influence on these neglected children.
Shortly after, a development programme sprung into action in which teachers and educators were trained on how to integrate a life-skills approach into their daily teaching pedagogy.
Over the last 4 years, 1200 educators have been engaged, indirectly impacting the lives of close to 100,000 children.
In fact, the impact is much more far-reaching.
“It is about bringing empathy and care to this world by using children as a catalyst.”