Wednesday, March 4, 2009

What is dreamfly?

We're two friends, Umaimah and Mona, who've started dreamfly as an initiative to change the world by investing in the children of the world and providing them the opportunities they deserve to maximize their potential. We specifically want dreamfly to become a platform where people from all walks of life come together and work towards a common goal. In a world that seems fixated on our differences, we want to focus on our similarities - the fact that we all love our kids and want to pass on a better world to them. dreamfly is our hope of achieving that. Our plan is to work with local communities and reputable organizations all over the world on projects that focus on the health, education, well-being and practical skill development of children to make them strong contributors to their communities and be socially and economically empowered. We want to mobilize donors, volunteers and partners (regardless of geography) who share this vision.  

Umaimah's take: Akri is my home-village. It's where my father was born. It's where I first learned how to ride a tractor and install mosquito nets around hand-woven hammock-beds. It's where I raced my pony with my brother on the dirt roads and rode on motor-bikes and tongas to nearby (barren) fields and villages. As I grew older, the differences between me and Akri started to become stark. Acutely painfully stark. After being home-schooled in Badin, I made my way to Cornell University. Then Microsoft. And now Harvard Business School. While Akri stayed the same. With barren fields and dirt-roads that lead to nowhere. People who don't want to go anywhere. Or become anyone. Or even do anything. All people of Akri - men women alike - other than the little children. When I visited my home-village this year, I found children, only the little ones, somehow out of nowhere, talking to me about their crazy, imaginative dreams. Dreams of becoming someone. Dreams of flying to places unknown, of curing people, of ending wars, of saving the world! Children for whom the reality of Akri had not yet set in... I want to take each child of Akri and dare her to make her dream a reality. With the help of friends, people who care, people with beautiful hearts and some crazy journeys and dreams of their own, people like my good friend and partner Mona, my husband and best friend Adil, my life-time friends at Microsoft and new acquaintances at Harvard, we can take the children of Akri on a flight of dreams and a fight to make every purposeful desire and positive ambition a reality.

Mona's take: I'm fortunate - I have a great job with Microsoft and the freedom to live my life by my rules. It had very little to do with luck and a lot to do with the opportunities my mother made available for me by investing 100% in my education and encouraging independent thought. Now its my chance to provide similar opportunities to kids who are most eager to avail them. That's why when Umaimah mentioned The Citizens Foundation (TCF) to me over IM, I took the next flight out to Pakistan to meet with her and the TCF folk - we went to Akri and met with the kids we hope will attend our school. They were all beyond adorable - eager, grateful and excited at the prospect of a school. You must read our personal chats with some of the kids - they provide great insight that dreams don't know any bounds and hope can survive the harshest of circumstances. I've spoken with the kids over the phone since my trip to Akri - they cant wait to start school!