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12/01/16 Issues

Reflections on the Kolar Camp

The entire experience at the Life Skills Camp for young people was extremely positive and enriching. The enthusiasm, friendly nature and keenness to support each other demonstrated by Dream a Dream’s team was compelling. It helped each one of us let go of our inhibitions, apprehensions and connect with each other. The well-designed programme; rich, creative and versatile experience of the facilitators, ‘bubbles’ - the group of volunteers and the support team enabled young people engage and feel included. The simple, earthly open design of the camp site that blended with nature and the no-frills food prepared with lots of love added to the magical experience. At the end of four days, everyone left with a feeling of accomplishment and unity. We also took with us our dreams and beliefs that we can create a wonderful world for ourselves and for the people around us.

Background: 

A combination of factors influenced by poor life choices, socio-economic-cultural-political-environmental facets continue to fuel ill health, poor educational outcome, unemployment and unrest in communities. Unfortunately by default, children and young people are the first line of innocent victims to be entrapped when their families and communities experience poverty and adversity. The Life Skills Camps are interwoven around four goals: To understand self, to learn from each other; learn to take leadership to build their community and to have fun. They are designed to provide a safe environment for children and young people in vulnerable situations to express themselves, take control and make healthy life choices. They help them identify their strengths and dreams to impede the vicious downward spiral of adversity and flourish. 

More about the camp: 

26 young people (20 boys, 6 girls) in the age group of 13 to 17 from vulnerable backgrounds who chose to attend the camp were from the two Career Connect Centers of Dream a Dream in Bangalore.The calm and serene camp site that blended with nature, located away from the hustle and bustle of Bengaluru provided the ideal setting for the journey of self-discovery. The lively and creative facilitation by Shilpa and Lokesh the lead facilitators, the enthusiasm and friendly team of ‘bubbles’ (the group of volunteers) and support team many of who have been a part of Dream A Dream’s journey from their childhood brought the best out of everyone.

 A wide variety of mediums such as songs, dance, painting, theatre, group activities, presentations and cultural events were exercised. These were interspersed with outdoors activities such as the morning circle, trekking and a camp fire. The creative and innovative methods enabled young people to express themselves and reflect on the key messages that they learnt from each of the sessions.One of the transformative section of the camp was the six parallel workshops facilitated by the youth delegates that provided them the space to take charge. They surprised everyone and set high standards by covering a range of topics. These topics included understanding various forms of agricultural practices, preparing for life, addressing corruption, introducing different forms of painting, leadership, team building, respecting gender roles and communication.

 The extremely interactive and structured sessions provided a safe and supportive environment for young people to learn valuable life skills such as focusing, listening, learning from mistakes and taking leadership. They also enabled young people reflect their lives, unburden their troubled past and celebrate success. At the end of the camp all participants could recognize and were brave enough to leave behind their negativity. They carried their dreams and passion to rebuild their lives and live in harmony. 

As a new member of Dream a Dream, the camp helped me witness and experience the arc of transformation as demonstrated by young people. It helped me gain deeper insights of Dream a Dream’s engagements in empowering young people in vulnerable situations identify their potentials and flourish.

 

By,

Mahesh Chandrasekar

Director – Research & Advocacy | Dream A Dream