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10/11/14 Stories of change

Anita

Anita, 21 joined the After School Life Skills Programme in 2007 from one of Dream a Dream’s partner schools. Her father is an auto-rickshaw driver and mother works as a tailor at a local garment factory.

Anita grew up in a conservative, traditional family where she was not allowed to go out of the house on her own or interact with boys at school or in the neighbourhood. Her father has an alcohol addiction which led to many troubled evenings at home. Her mother was unwilling to send her to the Dream a Dream Programme since it involved playing Football, traditionally considered to be a boy’s sport, but she persisted.

At Dream a Dream, if a young person is turning up for the session, without force or coercion, we know they are getting something from the programme that they are yet to discover. Her aggressive behavior continued in the programme and many a time, she refused to listen to the facilitator or attempt to reconcile conflicts. She was quite happy staying out of the sessions. Anitha adds, “Many times I refused to do anything or to take responsibilities during a session. When I started to refuse those things I felt that they are forcing me to do the activity so I use to leave the activity and go back to van quietly sitting there.” Anitha further adds, “When I joined Dream A Dream’s life skills programme, I never used to listen to what the facilitator is saying or what others are saying and never care for others. Even at home I was not listening what my mother is saying or what father was saying. And because of this my parents also started not to take care of me.”

Things changed when Revanna (another graduate from Dream A Dream who had joined as a Life Skills facilitator) took over the sessions for Anitha’s batch. Anitha remembers that moment vividly. She said, “One day Revanna had a football session and after an hour he did some interesting session which was about communication and respecting each other. Here everyone was discussing about their real life situations but I was the only one who was not talking anything in the circle. While discussion was happening I was processing about all the mistakes I have done in the past and what I was getting back from the people. After this session I tried to talk with my team mates in a different manner but still in the beginning it was little difficult to mingle with other. I started realizing myself what I am. What are my strengths and skills by seeing these things in me even my family which putting restrictions on me they only started to send for the program and they encouraged me to go the session.”

Anitha’s experience with Dream a Dream led her to build a dream for herself. She realized that there are other children like her who face challenges but don’t have a role model or a facilitator to support them. When she graduated from school, she promptly reached out to Dream a Dream and became our first woman facilitator for the Life Skills through Football programme. It’s been 3 years since Anitha joined as a facilitator. Today, life has come a full circle; she goes back to her school as a facilitator. The children, especially girls, look upto Anitha as someone they want to be like when they grow up. The teachers and principal are proud of Anitha. Anitha proudly says, “Now I am working as a Life skill facilitator from past 3 years with younger children in Dream a Dream. Here I am having lot of experiences and learning while working with children. Even now I see many children who are very talented than me and myself creating space to those children to become a changemaker in the society. I am enjoying this work and happy to continue to work with children till the end."