Thursday, January 18, 2007

Support this Cause by Dream A Dream

We live in a comfort zone, drive in our cars to office. We talk on Skype and blog on MySpace, Blogspot and a wide range of other open canvasses available to us. To the commuter the use of phones as wallets and media screens; from the emergence of intelligent home appliances that make your food in half an hour after coming from work, to passport security personnel who scan your iris at immigration, the world in Indian cities and metros has changed so fast and so much – it has made us versatile, mobile and most of all demanding. With one’s life of ups and downs cocooned in security and thinking about me-myself-I, it helps to look around and see what other people are coping with. You may consider yourself far more blessed than you imagined. When you drive out in the city or walk through a busy street, I am sure that you would have seen kids working in the restaurants, few playing in a mound of sand near a construction project and also few others begging near the traffic junctions.

What is your reaction? For a moment, you are driven by pity and sympathy and occasionally end up paying a few pennies. But does it really serve the purpose or is it your conscious way of delivering to a responsibility. Well I guess NO.

In a society that you and me live in there are a bunch of people who want to make a difference and give back something to the society in their own little way. With this genuine grass root motive in mind, Dream A Dream was started in November 1999 by a group of 11 young people. Today it is a registered not-for-profit trust working with over 500 children coming from vulnerable backgrounds such as children from the streets / slum communities, runaway children, orphans, and HIV+ children among others.

To know more about Dream A Dream visit here.

"Empowering children from vulnerable backgrounds by developing life skills and at the same time sensitizing the community through active volunteering, leading to a non-discriminatory society where unique differences are appreciated", is the vision of Dream A Dream

The team has some really smart people who take time off their busy schedule and contribute in their own way. Few among them are Srikrishna, a BITS Pilani graduate from the class of 2002 and Umesh Malhotra of the Hippocampus (a wonderland for kids to explore) fame. Umesh is an ex- Infosysian, who was later involved with Bangalore Labs, also supports this movement actively. More about the Governing Board here and management team here.

The team tries to achieve its mission by providing sustained life skill development programmes to children through exposure to sports, outdoor camps, creative arts, reading based programmes, computer training programmes, cinema and theatre among others. Moreso it encourages a strong community participation model where in volunteer-based programmes are conducted leading to empowerment and sensitization about children’s issues within a community. Today, this has developed into a full-fledged program including over 500 volunteers mostly from the IT and the Tech sector in Bangalore. Donating cash is one thing but getting involved is another. The latter part is more important, so few people decided to pool in not only their money, but also efforts for the cause of underprivileged children.

Fine how does someone contribute to this program then? Well someone from the IT and Tech industry can be involved with a curriculum which seeks to instill basic computer knowledge among less-fortunate children with the belief that imparting such life-skills will bring them out of marginalization and make them confident to become part of the mainstream society. Well when you do this, what do you get in return, well I can’t assure you any monetary benefits but you can reap in oodles of satisfaction and a sense of fulfillment. The enthusiasm of the kids to learn new things, their radically new ideas, their fresh way of looking at things, their impartial and non-judgmental attitude and most of all their dedication and grit to overcome obstacles in spite of limited means is worth admiration. What if they couldn’t make to a school, still they have a dream. A dream to explore the outside world and so please join your hands for Dream A Dream and let a thousand other dreams come true.

On the 21st of January '2007, 40 volunteers and kids from Dream A Dream , will be participating in the "Dream Run (6Km)" category at the Mumbai Marathon (Asia’s largest Marathon) to raise funds for the various projects which are in progress or are yet to be initiated in future. Support this noble activity by making your contributions and pledging your support for the Dream Run. No amount is small or big enough, every rupee will count to make a difference. Indian donors can pledge online here . US donors can pledge online here . All donations will be used for the programs at Dream A Dream and you will be eligible for Tax exemptions on the donated amount. You would also receive detailed reports about fund allocation and usage. Please contact Vikram Rai (email him at for more details. A sincere request to all to follow this pattern in the subject field of your email, mention it as
"Supporting Dream A Dream [your name] from [location, country]". Also you can be in touch with the team here .

Dream A Dream has a number of projects to which you can contribute and lend your support, services and valuable ideas . There are many corporate partners primarily from the IT and Tech sector who support few of the initiatives.

"It's not how much we do...
but how much love we put into doing it!"

None of these initiatives is possible without people like you coming together from all walks of life who believe in the rights of children. It’s time that we start thinking of underprivileged children, not as objects of sympathy, but as citizens with the same rights that we consider our due. We must realize that the policies and the everyday choices we make, must seek to address the root causes of children's problems not just their superficial manifestations.

Finally, we must all - as parents, teachers, businesspersons, lawyers, consumers, students, judges, engineers, writers, administrators and journalists alike - overcome our apathy, pessimism and sheer inertia and reconfigure our priorities to give a better shade to someone’s childhood and make sure that s/he is entitled to the full spectrum of the basic human rights. Go Ahead and support this cause.

Keep reading and remain connected.


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