Published: 16th October 2017
Guardians of Dreams: How four young entrepreneurs are changing the lives of kids in shelter homes — by getting them everything from scholarships to Aadhar cards
This venture that functions in three cities — Kochi, Chennai, and Bengaluru — consists of young volunteers, mostly students, who put together interactive events from scratch
Shoddy shoes, hard beds, bleak years ahead. A large part of India is made of young faces that have experienced this plight. With a large number of India’s youth making up the country’s population, it is essential to work towards removing their hurdles and lending a hand in making their paths smoother. After all, these same faces will help in developing the country. But the lack of support for these youngsters is the leaking tap that India needs to fix. Enter Guardians of Dreams, an organisation that works to give the right care and resources to children in shelter homes to ensure positive outcomes for their future.
Working in Guardians is a fun roller coaster ride, from conducting events to interacting with children in shelter homes. The experience has also given me the opportunity to improve my portfolio as a designer. Nothing makes me happier than knowing I can change the world
This bright venture functions in three cities — Kochi, Chennai, and Bengaluru. It was started by four youthful, entrepreneurial minds and is carried on by a team of volunteers that raises funds and kickstarts projects. This team consists of young volunteers, mostly students, who put together events from scratch and talk to shelter authorities to get the ball rolling. The organisation fulfills its goals by implementing its research-backed projects that positively impact children in shelters. These projects are fueled by the fundraising events and activities that are organised by the city team. With key processes outlined and smooth operations in the last year, these programmes are efficient and show fast results.
You’d be surprised how impactful a nurturing living space can be for a growing child. Being underfunded, many shelter homes lack the basic standards of safety, sanitation, and hygiene that is necessary to live. The NGO provides support to shelter homes by renovating them. They design and rebuild the homes to be more child-friendly, safe, and nurturing. These renovations have a huge impact on the child’s health and well-being, and many reports even stated that children have been able to sleep better.
When I joined the organisation more than a year ago, I could barely stand on my own feet. Now, I can manage a team and can effectively put together an event. Guardians has taught me to communicate in a professional environment and develop a balanced work life
Cherian Jacob, Volunteer
Giving them an identity
We’ve never had to worry about whether we have our birth certificates and Aadhaar cards or not, because we have a guardian to maintain them, but it isn’t the same for many. One of the reasons that children in shelter homes are hindered from gaining access to basic rights and applying for benefits that they are eligible for is because they lack basic ID proof and certificates necessary to be qualified as a citizen. The organisation sets up a directory of the children in these homes and works with government authorities to organise a camp to provide the children with their documents.
Spreading smiles: The organisation renovated two shelter homes in Kochi in 2016 — Sacred Hearts Boys Home and Infant Jesus Girls Home
For us, higher education is only obvious, but it isn’t as easy for 11.9 million children, who are denied the right to education. Most students drop out of schools or are likely to stop education due to family pressure and financial troubles. The NGO provides scholarships to exemplary children to encourage them to pursue higher studies. Removing financial burden for these children will allow them to aim for higher education and gain career prospects, giving them the chance to pursue their dreams.
But Guardians of Dreams has only taken the first step of a long journey ahead. The organisation is focused on better understanding the problems faced by at-risk children and how these struggles can be minimised. The outcome of this entire endeavour would have a snowball effect. These programmes create small ripples, but together, these ripples make a high tide. Ideally, the initiative strives to give the youth of India a successful future, giving them a chance to pursue their dreams. This powerful change can catapult India’s development and decrease its poverty ratio. Despite focusing on uplifting young lives, these goals ultimately favour the growth of the entire nation. All this being possible because fifty individuals want to make the dreams of the children in this nation a reality.