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Dream a Dream

place India + 1 more

Empowering young people from adversity to thrive in the 21st century

Dream a Dream empowers young people from vulnerable backgrounds to overcome adversity and flourish in a fast changing world, using a creative life skills approach. We work on a strong collaborative approach with local charities, corporates, volunteers, governments, expert consultants and a host of national and international strategic partners.

HundrED 2021


HundrED has selected this innovation to

HundrED 2021

Web presence






Target group
June 2022
We empower young people from vulnerable backgrounds to overcome adversity and flourish in a fast changing world.

About the innovation

For Every Child a Thriving Life

A pioneer of life skills in India, Dream a Dream exists to empower young people from vulnerable backgrounds to overcome adversity and thrive.

Having worked with over a million children in the last 20 years, we have constantly been evolving to deepen and broaden our impact on the child. Through our two innovation labs in Bangalore – After School Life Skills Programme and Career Connect Programme – reaching 10,000 young people a year, we have demonstrated the long-term impact of life skills and SEL on young people growing up in adversity. We have developed innovative pedagogical approaches closely influencing 35,000 educators developing their abilities to be caring and empathetic adults, a key lever in our approach. Mainstreaming life skills curriculum, pedagogical approaches, teacher professional development, assessment, and curriculum reform through partnerships with state governments in Delhi, Uttarakhand, Telangana, Jharkhand, Karnataka and Aga Khan Foundation in Kenya has reached 1.7 million children in public education systems.

The Urgency

What are Life Skills?

Life skills are a group of psycho-social competencies and interpersonal skills that help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, empathize with others, and cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner.

Life Skills & Adversity

One in three children in India live in extreme poverty and have stunted and/or wasted growth. Children from vulnerable backgrounds are more likely to be exposed to a combination of adverse experiences (malnutrition, abuse, violence etc.) causing an irrefutable impact on their physical and mental health. Adversity causes debilitating social problems that include unemployment, crime, alcoholism, apathy, and poor economic conditions.

Dream a Dream works with young people from vulnerable backgrounds, who experience extreme adversity in their daily lives. Adversity affects their ability to engage with the world, make healthy life choices and be successful. Empathy-based and transformative pedagogy, experiential learning, and mentoring ameliorate the effects of adversity by providing life skills to enhance growth, develop agency, and enable young people to become healthy adults who can fully participate in their communities.

Our Strategy

We empower young people from vulnerable backgrounds to overcome adversity and flourish in a fast changing world.

Our Model

At the centre of Dream a Dream’s approach is the child

The first is the young person, who we believe has the potential to overcome adversity and develop the life skills. Next, their closest influencers. A caring and compassionate adult. It
could be a teacher, a parent, a facilitator, a mentor, or a volunteer. Then, the ecosystem. This includes a supportive community of
practitioners who are working towards education reform such as the government, policy-makers, administrators, and other such stakeholders. And eventually, the society that the young person will inhabit.

Our programmes are designed in a way that all these four sectors are impacted, to create the best possible world for the young person.

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Our Programs


We work directly with 10,000 young people each year through our two innovation
labs - After School Life Skills Programme and Career Connect Programme. In these innovation labs, new approaches to life skills development are introduced, demonstrated, documented and fed back into the larger framework to re-imagine learning for young people in India.

After School Life Skills Programme

We provide innovative, non-traditional educational opportunities through sports and arts to allow children to build important life skills such as team work, decision-making, problem solving, and critical thinking. We partner with 20 schools in Bangalore and work with students from grades 4-10.

  • 5000 young people year on year

  • 95.9% participants improved in life skills

  • 95% retention

  • 89% average attendance

Career Connect Programme

We run two centers in under-resourced neighbourhoods for 15-23 year olds to help develop the life skills required to make a healthy transition from adolescence to adulthood.
Here our programmes in Computer Education, Spoken English, Communication Skills, Money Management and Workplace Readiness are integrated with a high-impact life skills approach that prepares them for the job market and develops resilience, confidence and adaptability needed to respond to the fast-change of pace in the world around them.

  • 5000 young people annually

  • 99.9% participants improved in life skills

  • 93% retention

  • 91% average attendance


We enable teachers, educators, school leaders, and youth workers to empower young
people with life skills through our award-winning creative life skills approach.

Teacher Development

The programme creates transformative experiences for teachers/educators to re-imagine their role, demonstrate empathy, expand their creativity, develop listening and validation skills and facilitate safe learning spaces in their classrooms.

  • 35,000 teachers / educators trained since 2013

  • Net Promoter Score of 65


We invest in building evidence of the impact of our life skills programmes through
quality research. The research helps us build a voice around the criticality and urgency to integrate life skills within learning outcomes. We also build a supportive community of practitioners, organisations, governments, and key stakeholders who help integrate life skills into education reform through strategic partnerships.

Life Skills Assessment Scale

The Life Skills Assessment Scale (LSAS) has been developed by Dr. David Pearson & Dr. Fiona Kennedy. Their immense work has resulted in a paper co-authored by them along with Dream A Dream Cofounder, Vishal Talreja published in Social Behavior and Personality: An international journal for March 2014 (Kennedy, Pearson, Brett-Taylor & Talreja (2014).

This assessment tool was designed as a knowledge product that is translatable to the global south. It is a simple observation based scale to be used by a facilitator of life skills programmes.

Strategic Partnerships

The Strategic Partnerships team focuses on scaling the life skills approach, the core of what we have learnt in Dream a Dream for the past 20 years. This endeavour creates great opportunities to contribute to the work of State Governments in implementing non-cognitive curriculum like the Happiness Curriculum work with Delhi, Andhra Pradesh and Uttarakhand Governments. We look at direct impact by creating avenues for our Teacher Development Programme to train teachers across various states and contexts. There is also a strong focus to integrate this learning into programme design of various NGOs to reimagine their work with their stakeholders.

  • 5 State Partnerships

  • 2 Unique socio-emotional learning based state-wide curricula

  • Partnership with Aga Khan Foundation in Kenya


We create framework changes in society by influencing policy, changing education paradigms, and by reimagining learning and redefining the purpose of education for
young people to thrive in the 21st century.

Impact & scalability

Impact & Scalability

Dream a Dream has impacted over 1 million children through strategic partnerships with state governments in Delhi and Jharkhand. They have built scalability into their 5 level model and developed a curriculum based on new paradigms of learning.

HundrED Academy Reviews

The Dream a Dream innovation is an approach the whole world should take in redefining education. Education should be preparing the child for real life situations, children should be prepared to align with the fast changing world.

This programme develops skills that help people make informed decisions, solve problems, think critically and creatively, communicate effectively, build healthy relationships, and cope with and manage their lives in a healthy and productive manner. A very much needed programme for the target group.

- Academy member
Academy review results
Read more about our selection process

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