A mentor, his mentee, and
the Sunfeast World Run

By Ramesh Prabhu

IN 2009, on May 31, I took part in the Bangalore Sunfeast World Run to help raise funds for Dream A Dream.

Thanks to generous donations from well-wishers, I was able to raise about Rs.50,000.

In 2010, on May 23, I took part again in the Sunfeast World Run with the Dream A Dream team (see "Majja Run 2010" below). And this time I raised about Rs.85,000 for Dream A Dream.

I have been involved as a volunteer with Dream A Dream since August 2008. I began by teaching basic computer skills to underprivileged children on Sundays. Then, in February last year, Dream A Dream asked me, and other volunteers, to join the mentoring training programme conducted by Dave and Fiona. After the eight-week Sundays-only programme, I was "matched" with Kishore, a young boy from a shelter in JP Nagar called Vishwas.

Kishore had been enrolled in a home-schooling programme at the time. Subsequently he and other boys from Vishwas were admitted to a boarding school. But that did not work out and Kishore is now in a vocational training institute in Whitefield where he is learning a trade. He wants to be an automobile mechanic and he says he is happier now than when he was in a regular school.

I have brought Kishore twice to Commits, a media college where I am the professor of journalism — he has met the dean and other faculty members and the students. It is my hope that these interactions will, in some small way, make him determined to do well in life. And, like other mentors, I have taken Kishore on outings, to the Forum Mall, to buy books, toys, etc. (You can view some photographs here.)

Last year Kishore and I participated together in the Sunfeast World Run (see "Majja Run 2009" below). The two of us were able to bond memorably not only with each other but also with other mentors and mentees.

I am very grateful to Dream A Dream for having made it possible for me and many other volunteers to play a role in the lives of youngsters who have had a bleak past and who face an uncertain future. Here's a toast, then, to all the Dreamers!