Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Reality Gives Ambassadors...Inspiring stories 2013

Today we would like to tell you the stories of some incredible people who choose to support Reality Gives by raising funds and awareness for our projects . These are the stories of the Reality Gives Ambassadors 2013:

Therese and Andreas Uhrner and kids visit the cause they fundraised for

The Swedish family contacted us in early January with the idea to fundraise for a social cause in Mumbai which they could visit when they visit India in February. As the mother works with disabled adults in Sweden they were especially interested in the CORP (Community Outreach Program) Centre for disabled children in Dharavi.

Lukas made new friends at the CORP centre for disabled children
The family raised Rs. 60,000 ($ 1100) through their kids' birthday parties and at work from colleagues. February 7th they finally visited Dharavi on a slum tour with Reality Tours and Travel and visited the CORP centre afterwards. Especially their children enjoyed to play with the other kids at the centre. The seven year old sonLukas even taught some hearing disabled kids Swedish sign language, see the video here:

Therese and her two children playing with the disabled children at the CORP centre 

Beginning of April we finally distributed the hearing aids the young family provided by their generous donation. Faia (14), Mayur (12), Asif (9) and Triveni (18) were very happy to finally get the medical supply they were hoping for for a long time. See photos here.

Monika runs for a cause

Monika is an expat living with her fiancee in Mumbai. She ran the Hiranandani Thane Half Marathon in February 2013 and thought it would be a great chance to also fundraise for a good cause. She has a degree in nutrition an nursing and therefore decided that the money she would raise should benefit the FMCH Nutrition Initiative in Dharavi.

Monika runs in the right half of the picture. 

Monika raised GBP 310 by setting up a profile on, check it our here. She approached her friends by sending emails and spreading the word on facebook. Her experience during fundraising was very interesting: "It seems to me, always the people who have the least money are the ones who choose to contribute."

By the way Monika managed to finish in 1:44 minutes, placing her on the 5th place among females. Congratulations!

Hui-Fen Anna hosts a music evening for her friends

To be an Ambassador you don't need to commit to raise a high amount of funds. Even by spreading the word of the social issues in Dharavi and the work we do you can support our cause.

Hui-Fen Anna Liao from Taiwan hosted a living room concert at her home to support a local band. She also wanted to use this opportunity to tell her friends about her experience in Dharavi and the social activities of Reality Gives. She raised a total amount of GBP 26 which she donated directly to Reality Gives.

Julia and Nathalia collect cameras for the Dharavi Art Room 

Julia is an expat living in Mumbai who volunteers for our partner NGO FMCH (Foundation for mother and child health). She is also a passionate blogger and photographer and shares her experience of living in a foreign country on

She and her husband recently visited "Mumbai 17 - A Dharavi Art Room Exhibition" and volunteered to take some students on a photo walk in the close neighbourhood of Pali Naka. Of course she wrote about it in her blog but also requested all her friends to donate old cameras they don't use anymore for the kids to use at the art program.

Julia's kids group from Dharavi during the photo walk in Bandra 

Former FMCH volunteer and Reality Tours and Travel Dharavi Tour customer Nathalie reacted immediately and asked her friends too.

Together they collected nine cameras which Julia's husband will bring along from UK soon. And this in just a two weeks time! Great work!

Julie and Aaron support us with their marketing skills

Julie and Aaron recently contacted Reality Gives with the idea to support Reality Gives from abroad wherever possible. Through their attached resumes we realised that both are very talented in the fields of marketing and design so we decided to unload our marketing director a little bit and gave them tasks in the field of PR. The outcome was great and we very impressed by the commitment both added to their work. 

We are truly thankful for all Ambassador efforts and the funds and donations in kind raised. We hope that these stories will also inspire YOU to consider a possibility to support Reality Gives too. Please find out more on or contact Adina, Reality Gives Marketing & Fundraising Director at

Friday, 10 May 2013

Reality Gives Projects...Recent developments at the Yuwa Girls Football Program

After a long break from December to March the Yuwa Girls Football Program finally started again with full power. The two new coaches Kalawak (17) and Anita (18), both village girls from the Yuwa program in Jharkhand have started to give daily training sessions on March, 19th.

At the beginning just ten of the initial 20 players strong team returned to the training. But the reason wasn't lack of motivation or problems at home. It was much simpler and positive: they were in the middle of the annual exams and studied hard! 

Now around 30 girls attend regularly the training which takes place at the Mahim public play ground from 6 to 8pm during the week and at 6am on Sundays. 

Thanks to the girls and new coaches' strong recruitment efforts with posters and flyers a lot of new girls come to start playing every week. As soon as the school starts again in June we hope to have enough players to host two training sessions per day as the girls have different school timings. 

Another good news is that the safety of the girls improved enormously after Franz, founder and director of Yuwa and some girls visited the local police department to request a guard at the daily training. This was necessary as many boys came to harass and insult the girls while they were playing. This also improved the self-confidence of the girls a lot. 

But the biggest recent development is our new connection to the Manchester United Soccer School Mumbai. Together with the OSCAR Foundation our girls are currently participating in a six days summer camp at the cooperate football stadium in Churchgate, Mumbai. 

The head coach Chris O'Brien teaches the kids for three hours a day what all talents chosen from around the globe are taught in the Manchester United Football Club. That means that each participant imbibes the philosophies on technical, tactical, social, psychological and physical aspect of football and life.

This isn't just a one-time exciting opportunity but rather the first step to a longterm relationship with the MUSS. "We thought it's ideal to start off in our short term summer course so that everyone gets an orientation of each party’s work. We look forward to having them on board on our regular courses", says Rainer Nair, Manager of MUSS.

We also recently started to connect with Magic Bus to host tournaments and friend matches soon so that the girls will get a feeling for competition and team-work.

Another development option will be the new public high school our English Language Support Program will work at soon. We hope to recruit many more girls from a total new area of Dharavi. Watch this space for more information soon.

Finally we would also like to get your attention for the recent developments at the Yuwa program in Jharkhand. Eighteen girls were chosen to attend the Donosti Cup, Spain's biggest soccer cup in July. That is a great chance for the girls whose families live with less than $1 a day. 

Unfortunately the local bureaucrats put obstacles in the girl's way towards fame by refusing to give birth certificates. Read the whole story in Hindustan Times.  

Nonetheless the girls and Yuwa fight for their rights to stand out while society tells them to fit in. Help them reach their goal!

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Reality Gives Projects...A reflection of the recent Youth Empowerment Program Batch

Yesterday the recent Youth Empowerment Program batch with 26 students graduated after 3.5 months studying English, Computer and Soft Skills. Steph, the new CEO of Reality Tours and Travel handed over the certificates to the happy students

It was an exciting batch with a lot of new developments. Laura, our research volunteer from UK worked with the students to improve her English Language Mobile Learning Program and got some very interesting insights, see here.

Laura also worked on the great profiles of the students which we published in the last days here on our blog. She talked to the students about the importance and impact of the program and got some really interesting reflections. Here are some of them: 

I only had Kannada medium education and so it has been really difficult for me to speak English, but now I am really excited because I am finally beginning to understand what is happening around me.” Prabhavathi, YEP student and young mother

I want to help my sons. They are studying in English-medium school. Nowadays schools ask parents how their children are doing and all, and for that reason I need to learn English. Also, I want to get a better job, because whatever we earn, me and my wife, in a day, we just spend on food, on our children’s education. It’s not sufficient for us. I’m looking for a job, like shipping, on a cruise liner, but my English needs to be better.” Gowardhan, YEP student and carpenter

Coming here and joining this course, I get a lot of confidence. Before coming here, I was very embarrassed to talk with friends. I was not confident in speaking English, whereas my friends, they can speak in English in a very natural way. Now, joining this course, I feel very confident now. I definitely understand more and I feel very good.” Pratiksha, YEP student and commerce graduate

After coming to this class I know that many small-scale industries are in Dharavi. Before I was thinking Dharavi is not a good place, but now I’m very proud because I’m living in Dharavi. Even we see foreigners who want to come and learn about Dharavi. We have many education facilities and hospital facilities and already we are seeing many changes in this community. I hope in the future it will become a very good place. Amalin, YEP and college student

On Tuesday USERINNOV conducted their Demo project workshop on problem solving with the students. The idea behing this program is to take a particular social issue and work together to find creative solutions with the least expenses. The subject of this workshop was waste management. Different groups were working on different theme fields like dry and wet waste, education or plastic recycling and pitched their ideas at the end of the day. It was a very nice experience for all students as they learned how to work in a team to solve problems within their communities.

On Wednesday a workshop on career guidance took place at the Community Centre. It basically guides the students through the possibilities after graduating from the Youth Empowerment Program.

Today some of the students performed at the Teach for India graduation ceremony at the National Centre for Performing Arts in South Mumbai. After weeks of practising the song "He got the whole world in his hands" they were selected amongst many participating schools all over Mumbai. We are very proud of their hard work and commitment towards this performance.

The next Youth Empowerment Program batch will start in the middle of June. We wish all our teachers a very restful vacation!

Friday, 3 May 2013

Reality Gives Stories...YEP Students Zareena, Falak, Tauqueer and Asif

Zareena, 16 

Zareena lives with her six sisters, three brothers and parents in Dharavi. Her father is in the navy. She is currently studying for her H.S.C.. Zareena is very creative and would like to have her own business in the future. She also likes the idea of being a teacher, but she is still young so has plenty of time to decide. She thinks English language skills will defintely help her to achieve her goals.

Falak, 16

Falak is the youngest in a large, middle-class family. She has reached 11th Standard at school and is studying for the H.S.C. in Science. She then hopes to embark on a beautician course in Dharavi. She thinks English will really help her in her chosen career path, because it will allow her to communicate with clients and will lead to faster promotion. When she is not studying, Falak helps her mother with the household duties.

Tauqueer, 21

Tauqueer finds it very difficult that all his friends, all his teachers and all potential employers speak in English, and he is unable to participate. He is in the second year of his BComm and would then like to enrol on an MBA course. He is particularly interested in working in marketing in the future. Tauqueer has lived in Dharavi all his life. He is part of a big family, and his father owns a children’s clothes shop. In his free time, he helps out with the family business.

Asif, 18

Asif is currently studying in Dharavi for his H.S.C. Science. His mother is a housewife and his father makes and sells bags locally. He would like to be mechanical engineer. He is particularly interested in computer science and would like to have a job repairing computers in the future. English is very important to him, as he feels it will improve his job prospects and help him communicate with friends in person and online.

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Reality Gives Stories...YEP Students Sulbha, Anand, Prabhawati and Moji

Sulbha, 23

Sulbha has recently married and settled in Dharavi with her husband’s family. She thinks that English language skills will be very important if she has children in the future. She also feels these skills are essential for any job. She would be particularly interested in working in a library. In her free time, she likes to read newspapers and books in English, Hindi or Marathi.

Anand, 19

Anand is studying for his S.S.C. in a private college and will take his exams this summer. He is Amalin’s younger brother, and his family is originally from Tamil Nadu. He would like a government job in the future, perhaps in shipping, and will need to be able to communicate fluently in English in order to achieve his goal. In fact, he feels that English will be an advantage in any job application process. In his free time, Anand enjoys playing cricket.

Prabhawathi, 20

Prabhawathi hopes that taking part in this course will allow her to teach her family in the future. She’d like to be able to help both her younger siblings and her children, when they get older, with their English. She was unable to take her S.S.C. exams, because she had an accident on the morning of the exam and ended up in hospital. Unfortunately, now she is married and has small childen, she cannot continue her education.

Moij, 21

Moij’s future career is his top priority. So far, he has completed his S.S.C. in a Hindi-medium school and has recently transferred to English-medium. He now needs to learn English quickly! He is interested in pursuing his studies in mechanical engineering, and would like to focus on car repairs. Moij would also like to work as a tour guide in the future - possibly for Reality Tours and Travel! Moij is extremely busy, attending the 
Youth Empowerment Program 
as well as a computer course in 
Marine Lines. Sometimes he also helps 
his brother, who is a tailor.