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The Story of Our Entrepreneurship Workshop in Bagnan

Dreams from Bagnan

Last November, Seema Shalini Lugun and Satya Siva Nagaswetha, in conjunction with dreamfly, led a 20-day entrepreneurship workshop for students at Bagnan High School in India.  Over 50 students participated in the program, where they had the opportunity to learn about marketing, finance, and business strategy for the first time, and worked in groups to create and present their own business plans to the class.  The response from the students was overwhelmingly positive.

This is the story of dreamfly in Bagnan, told from Seema’s perspective.

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I never expected that this place in such a short time could give both so much love and so many memories.  And when I recall the time and the place, I feel overwhelmed with love and respect.  The first thought that came into my mind when I learned that dreamfly was working in India, was an awesome feeling; awesome because it was making a difference in the lives of people where conflict was the major force around them, and I personally have always wanted to work for such organizations.

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In the first two days of the workshop, we conducted some ice breaking sessions, briefing about dreamfly and an interaction session.  While the students were shy and hesitant at first, with the combination of games and interaction they opened up.  And the rest of the days, their energy, eagerness, and enthusiasm was something to be seen.

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The groups were formed, the slogans were made, and the whole school campus was buzzing with the news that something interesting was going in the computer lab.

Students from other classes were always eager to peep into the classroom to see what was going on.  Sometimes it became even hard to continue session because lower class students were asking if they could be part of the class or wanted to see what was going on.  In short, it can be said that energy level of the students at that time was infectious and something that was just WOW.  I can say that such an energy was not something that I was expecting.

Below are a few photos of the Bagnan student groups and their projects.

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I have always believed in the magic of dreaming, and always carried a dream to help someone else achieve their dream.  Part of this dream came true when I went to do my project with dreamfly.  An association with dreamfly gave me a chance to witness a miracle of having and following a dream.  I say it is a miracle because there is an atmosphere where the negativity is always trying to come out of hiding.

My project at Bagnan with dreamfly not only taught me to hope and strive, but also gave me courage and strength to always follow my heart and dream.

It might seem a bit exaggerated but within a short span with dreamfly, I realized and learned a beautiful lesson of life, i.e. to dream and to hold onto your dream.  I learned that even in the midst of fear, uncertainty, and poverty, a ray of hope shines brighter than anything.

It’s not how big or small our gestures of understanding, kindness, and help are but how much we practice it that brings the change.  It would be impossible to grasp what hope and strength dreamfly has imparted on the kids at Bagnan.

I think the initiative and hand of help on behalf of dreamfly is not only creating a difference, but it’s giving hope.

During those sessions, I came across many examples where students, in a short period of time, through their determination and will power were able to overcome their weakness.  I saw growth and hope go hand in hand.  They taught me if you will, you can.  I was showered generously with love, respect, and admiration, which in itself was more than filling or satisfying, and in a way, I became indebted to them.  Many of the things that I would have otherwise bypassed in my life, I think this project gave me a chance to learn.

Exciting Developments for the Bagnan High School Computer Lab

Located in a small town of Howrah district, West Bengal, Bagnan High School has close to three thousand students. The population in the area is primarily a mix of Hindu and Muslim communities and there is a conspicuous communal divide fueled by political indoctrination in the less educated segments of the society.

dreamfly began its endeavour at Bagnan High School to create strong community ties and eradicate the mindset of religious segregation. We aim to accomplish this by providing expanded educational opportunities so that the students develop appreciation for peers and make personal connections which will eventually create a more unified society.

dreamfly set up a lab consisting of 32 computers with comprehensive software packages that give students a chance to explore topics beyond their classroom resources. These computers enhance their learning experience, stimulate their minds and help give new insight on their culture and belief systems. Equally as important, as students from different communities and backgrounds form groups to use these computers, they build tolerance and appreciation for their classmates.

Over several visits to the school, we recognized that an internet connection is essential to fully harness the potential of the computer lab and truly expand these benefits to the children. Through sustained efforts and discussions, we have arrived at an agreement with the principal of the school to help set up an internet connection. This will not only provide students access to a wealth of new information but will also help them learn new software skills.

We have been able to make such remarkable progress primarily due to the enthusiastic efforts of our on-ground volunteers. Their involvement has gained significant popularity and we have been approached by additional volunteers eager to work with us.

Looking forward, we are excited to increase operational effectiveness on the ground with our expanded team and build upon our accomplishments.