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06/01/15 Stories of change

Padma

Padma was introduced to Dream a Dream by our partner school - Round Table School, a free school for children from poor communities around Roopera Agrahar, at the age of 19.

Padma was in 8th grade, when she joined Dream a Dream and came across as a very quiet girl, with little confidence and unable to interact with others. She was part of various programmes through the schooling years, struggling through her low self-esteem, but always been a diligent participant.

At Dream a Dream, we believe, when a young person turns up week-on-week for a programme, they are showcasing their commitment and we value, validate and celebrate that.

Padma pursued her Pre-University education after completing her schooling and became a participant at the Career Connect Center run by Dream a Dream close to her home. Meanwhile we were starting the Career Connect Centre. She dropped out of education after her 1st year of Pre-university education. Academics did not interest her and she was struggling to cope with the stress. Her family pressurized her to continue education and admitted her to a government run Industrial Training Institute (ITI) for vocational training. She dropped out of it in 2 months.

Padma’s interest was fuelled again when we introduced an opportunity to pursue a year-long dance scholarship programme with Lourd Vijay Dance School (LVDS). Being a passionate dancer, she decided to apply. She didn’t believe that she would get through it, she kept saying, “I’m bad at it, and I think I’ll just try. I think there are so many people who dance better than me; I think they’ll get it, not really me.”

Padma was elated with happiness when she was selected for the programme. This was the breakthrough in life she was looking for and she had got it. She said, “After dropping out of ITI, I was back to square one – sitting at home, doing household work and nothing else. I am sick of sitting at home. I felt hopeless but right now, I feel like I’m in a new world.”

Padma’s mother was disappointed that Padma didn’t continue her education and ITI.  Her dropping out caused a lot of financial loss to her family because they paid a huge amount for the course fees. Padma’s mother blamed her daughter for their woes but ultimately said, “At the end of the day, it’s her choice. It’s awesome that she has you; she has Career Connect and other people to support, which she is not utilizing. I don’t think anyone would get this opportunity.”

Padma transformed when she found her dream for life. She would eagerly share about her experiences at LVDS, share stories from her days with excitement and confidence and express her joy abundantly. She would confidently interact with other young people from diverse backgrounds and had found her self-esteem.

Recently she was invited to be a guest speaker at an Alumni Meet at Dream a Dream. Padma stood in front of 60 young adults, volunteers and guests and shared her story with confidence inspiring other young people to pursue their dreams. She had truly become a changemaker.

Today, Padma has successfully completed her course and was immediately hired by LVDS as a dance teacher in one of their school-based programmes. She is teaching dance and life skills of children from difficult backgrounds. She is confident, proud and living her dream.