31 August 2016

From June 28 to July 7, streetfootballworld and Sport dans la Ville played host to Festival 16: a landmark event in the history football for good. The festival brought together 68 delegations from all over the world for a celebration of football's positive potential, one of which was Dream a Dream.

 

Based in India, Dream a Dream is an award-winning organisation that uses sport and art to empower young people from vulnerable backgrounds. Vishal Talreja, the organisation's co-founder and CEO, has been kind enough to share his experience of the festival and the impact it had on his delegation.

 

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Festival 16 was a deeply inspiring and empowering experience for the young people from Dream a Dream.

 

For the first time, our entire delegation consisted of graduates from our Life Skills Programme. Pavithra as delegation leader is one of our earliest graduates and today manages an entire programme for 5000 youth. Prasanna as the youth leader joined our programme when he was 11-years old and today supports other facilitators to deliver the programme and the four young people who are currently in the programme. This was a big step for us and something we are really proud of—after 15-years, we sent a delegation completely represented by the communities we work in.

 

I met the leaders and young people when they got back to Bangalore and I could tell that Festival 16 was an experience of a lifetime for them. The friends they made from Hungary, Vietnam, South Sudan and Africa have left a deep positive impression on them, they have deeply learnt to value the support and opportunities they have received from their parents, school and Dream a Dream and they have learnt to appreciate their own lives in spite of its challenges.

 

They developed empathy when they met a delegation that didn’t have shoes or equipment to play. They were humbled by the inspiration brought by the Single Leg Amputee Sport Association delegation and felt deeply connected to them.

 

The Festival helped them broaden their horizons, they not only learnt about new countries but also about challenges faced by young people across the world. They came back and felt part of a global movement to make lives better for young people. They feel responsible and committed to make change happen in their communities. The girls have committed to inspire and encourage more girls from their community to engage in Sport. They want to have a girls team within the next year.

 

Everyone connected to Festival 16 should feel tremendously proud! What you have achieved is extraordinary. You have helped young people have aspirations with purpose for their lives and for their communities. I know, these young people, will make fundamentally different life choices—choices that will make them leaders in their communities and help them create bigger impact in the world.

"The friends they made from Hungary, Vietnam, South Sudan and Africa have left a deep positive impression on them, they have deeply learnt to value the support and opportunities they have received from their parents, school and Dream a Dream and they have learnt to appreciate their own lives in spite of its challenges."

Vishal Talreja
Dream a Dream Co-Founder & CEO
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