Vishal Talreja helps vulnerable children develop passion for learning and life skills necessary to thrive in today’s society and eventually integrate with the mainstream society. Parallely, through an active volunteering program and a unique educators program, Vishal sensitizes the community, especially those key to the children, to develop a non-discriminatory society where unique differences are appreciated.
Vishal’s organisation, Dream a Dream uses high-impact after-school experiential programs to bridge the gap that exists between basic services provided by institutions and nonprofits and the skills required to succeed in today’s society. These vulnerable children including children from disadvantaged backgrounds and children who are gravely ill learn life skills such as interpersonal skills, cognitive skills, creativity and self-awareness through activities such as football and creative arts. The interpersonal skills such as teamwork, communication, negotiation and coping skills and the cognitive skills such as decision-making, problem solving and critical thinking help these children cope with and solve existing and future challenges they face.
Vishal and his colleagues create arenas for meaningful exchanges between students and volunteers to sensitize the larger community to the issues these children face. This volunteer engagement model not only helps the children but, transforms volunteers to changemakers with a success rate of 10% presently. In addition, through their innovative teacher training program, Dream a Dream also transforms educators in to advocators and supporters of the children by unlocking empathy, developing facilitation skills and deepening their understanding of the child.
Dream a Dream currently has over 170 active batches of students between the age of 8 and 14 with 25-30 participants in each batch across Bangalore and 2,000 volunteers helping with their innovative engagement programs. The organisation delivers life skill programs to 5000 children and young people referred from 26 partner NGOs annually. Since its inception, the organization has impacted over 43,000 young people. The organisation works with over 500 educators every year indirectly impacting 50,000 young people in both formal and non-formal learning systems. 90% of these educators have felt the difference in their understanding of the child.
Vishal has also helped organizations such as the YP Foundation, Apni Shala, Shaishav, Salaam Bombay Foundation, Agastya International Foundation and CREA amongst others in integrating elements of Dream a Dream’s life skills approach within their existing programs. Dream a Dream was instrumental in developing a standardized scale to measure life skills amongst children from disadvantaged backgrounds. This tool open for use by any organization or educational system that is keen to measure life skills through their programs, helps them assess their impact.
Vishal plans to impact 500,000 young people in India by 2018 through Dream a Dream’s various life skills programs and have life skills included within the education system for every child in the country.
Note: This was updated in February, 2014. Read on for the ELECTION profile