Dream A Dream

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Dream A Dream: Empower Vulnerable Children, Sensitize Public Volunteers

Bangalore, IndiaBangalore, India
Year Founded:
Organization type: 
nonprofit/ngo/citizen sector
Project Stage:
$500,000 - $1 million
Project Summary
Elevator Pitch

Concise Summary: Help us pitch this solution! Provide an explanation within 3-4 short sentences.

Dream A Dream's mission is "to nurture the uniqueness of young people from vulnerable backgrounds and foster their passion for
learning, so that they are able to creatively respond to the frantic pace of change in the world."

WHAT IF - Inspiration: Write one sentence that describes a way that your project dares to ask, "WHAT IF?"

What if mentorship could build the foundation for a more inclusive society?
About Project

Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?

140 Million young people from vulnerable backgrounds in India need to leap frog into an unpredictable and complex future successfully and for this they will need creativity and empathy. They need abilities to take initiative, be adaptable and work in teams. Teachers who are transformative, creative, emphatic, authentic and life long learners are uniquely positioned to unlock their creative potential and empower them to make positive life choices.

Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!

The Dream Teacher Development Program transforms teachers to Be more emphatic, more authentic, more creative and facilitate learning environments. The model uses play & experiential techniques to develop various skills in teachers, such as, expanding their own creativity, listening and validation skills, the ability to share with authenticity and learn tools to meaningfully engage young people in learning. In addition, learning to build supportive peer communities and be life-long innovators of learning. We aim to develop a pool of over 2000 skilled teachers through a transformation focused design framework which can help young people develop the life skills required to take on the challenges of 21st century.
Impact: How does it Work

Example: Walk us through a specific example(s) of how this solution makes a difference; include its primary activities.

Sanjay is Government High School teacher in Harapanahalli, a small town in North Karnataka. He was not keen to attend the training, thinking it would be a waste of time. On Day 1, he planned to come for a couple of hours. Few hours later, he continued to stay and engaged in play, dancing, theatre, fun and learning. On Day 2, he was one of the first to arrive and gave more than his full participation. Post the training, he observed a visible shift in his behavior towards students - he was listening, observing and engaging them without anger or aggression. He brought more play and facilitation in his approach with immediate results. He sent a recommendation letter to all teachers and he re-discovered his passion for teaching.

Impact: What is the impact of the work to date? Also describe the projected future impact for the coming years.

Engaged 500 teachers from 18 partners 1. 100% have stated they have a deeper understanding of the young person and their adversity. 2. 80% have learnt new skills to engage young people in learning productively and without using corporate punishment 3. 80% believe they will bring more empathy and listening in their classrooms after the training. Engaged 5000 young people directly from 24 partners in Life Skills programs and established a ground-up innovation lab for learning. Projected Future Impact 1. Engage 2000 teachers over 2 years to enhance their creativity, empathy, ability to listen, create safe learning spaces and being more authentic as role models for over 200,000 young people. 2. Measure Life Skills Impact on a sample of 2000 young people. 3. Develop a proof of design and impact at scale that can be taken to over 100,000 teachers with government partnerships.

Spread Strategies: Moving forward, what are the main strategies for scaling impact?

1. Engage 2000 teachers across Urban and Rural India in the Teacher Development Program 2. Establish Impact at Scale for further adoption by government to reform teacher learning across India 3. Advocate for re-imagining learning curriculum through a network of partner NGOs (over 20), volunteers (over 2000) and strategic partners 4. Build a time of Lead Trainers for replication and adoption across regions through alumni who have been through our training 5. Create a technology platform for teacher resources and continuous learning

Financial Sustainability Plan: What is this solution’s plan to ensure financial sustainability?

Its costs approx. $ 100 to engage one teacher across 4 workshops translating to $ 1 per young person. Dream A Dream has a strong history of support from Dell, Nike, State Street, Global fund for Children, a comprehensive fundraising strategy, reserves of 1-year to sustain programs and a pipeline built for 2 years. We plan to focus on scale and impact and work towards government adoption and long-term support.

Marketplace: Who else is addressing the problem outlined here? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

While vocational training programs abound, most focus solely on practical skills, forgetting mental barriers inhibiting access to successful lives. As such, Dream a Dream supplements workplace knowledge with life skills development. By cultivating skills such as teamwork, problem-solving, and confidence, the program goes beyond just providing job opportunities and helps children lead healthy and productive lives. In addition, Dream a Dream pairs life skills development with community sensitization, simultaneously combatting personal and societal barriers to vulnerable children’s inclusion.

Founding Story

A chance encounter with a lady who worked as a bartender and a gentleman who was a security guard in Finland, pushed 21-year old Vishal to challenge his upbringing which was filled with prejudice and bias towards people who came from different backgrounds. He wondered why the domestic help in his house sat on the floor while his family sat on the table during meals. He wanted to create a world where each individual can live with dignity and is appreciated for who they are (amazing human beings) and not discriminated against because of their background, class, caste or sex. This led to 12 young people, just out of college, coming together to start Dream A Dream in 1999. "Through engagement, empowerment and play, the world can be changed."


Dream A Dream has 36 full-time staff, 36-part-time facilitators - 18 of them graduates from our program and 20 Lead Trainers including 4 graduates. The board consists of 5 people with a combined experience of over 120 years in NGO management, scaling, strategic planning, people, resource mobilization. Our inspiration is values of trust, ownership, accountability and that every staff member incl leadership has to work with young people directly


It's just about a dream for all of us.