Saturday, October 26, 2013

Running for a dream... and Dream A Dream

Back in July 2010, on the "Dream Mentors" blog that I had begun for Dream A Dream, the NGO that works with and for underprivileged children, I had published a post about my involvement with this wonderful organisation based in Bangalore. Here is that post in its entirety:

A mentor, his mentee, and
the Sunfeast World Run

By Ramesh Prabhu

IN 2009, on May 31, I took part in the Bangalore Sunfeast World Run to help raise funds for Dream A Dream.

Thanks to generous donations from well-wishers, I was able to raise about Rs.50,000.

In 2010, on May 23, I took part again in the Sunfeast World Run with the Dream A Dream team (see "Majja Run 2010" below). And this time I raised about Rs.85,000 for Dream A Dream.

I had begun my association as a volunteer with Dream A Dream in August 2008. I began by teaching basic computer skills to underprivileged children on Sundays. Then, in February 2009, Dream A Dream asked me, and other volunteers, to join the mentoring training programme conducted by the husband-wife team, Dr. Dave Pearson and Dr. Fiona Kennedy. After the eight-week Sundays-only programme, I was "matched" with Kishore, a young boy from a shelter in J.P. Nagar named Vishwas.

Kishore had been enrolled in a home-schooling programme at the time. Subsequently he and other boys from Vishwas were admitted to a boarding school. But that did not work out and Kishore is now in a vocational training institute in Whitefield where he is learning a trade. He wants to be an automobile mechanic and he told me, when I last spoke with him, that he is happier now than when he was in a regular school.

In 2009, Kishore accompanied me twice to Commits, the media college where I am the professor of journalism — he met the dean and other faculty members and the students. It is my hope that these interactions will, in some small way, make him determined to do well in life. And, like other mentors, I used to take Kishore on outings, to the Forum Mall, to buy books, toys, etc. (You can view some photographs here.)

In May 2009, Kishore and I participated together in the Sunfeast World Run (see "Majja Run 2009" below). The two of us were able to bond memorably not only with each other but also with other mentors and mentees.

I am very grateful to Dream A Dream for having made it possible for me and many other volunteers to play a role in the lives of youngsters who have had a bleak past and who face an uncertain future. Here's a toast, then, to all the Dreamers!


POSTSCRIPT (October 26, 2013): I took part in the annual charity run twice more, in 2011 and again last year. Thanks to the generosity of my friends, colleagues, and relatives, I was able to raise almost Rs.4 lakh for Dream A Dream over four years.

  • DREAM A DREAM, founded in 1999 and based in Bangalore, is a non-profit which seeks to empower young people from vulnerable backgrounds by developing life-skills and at the same time sensitising the community through active volunteering. On January 30, 2010, Dream A Dream and Vishal Talreja, co-founder and executive director, were featured in CNBC-TV18's weekly programme, "Young Turks". To watch the video, click here: Dream A Dream on CNBC-TV18.
  • Want to volunteer with Dream A Dream? Click here.

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