Hacking For Charity: The Inspiring Story of Vaikų svajonės

Years ago, I had the chance to contribute to this amazing project.

The mechanism behind Vaikų svajonės is simple but brilliant: publish a very special Christmas list where every child’s gift stands as a puffy cloud together with their name and age. One can decide to make their dreams come true and gift them with what they would like to see under the Christmas tree.

Time passed by, Christmas is approaching, so I decided to talk with Julius Gregorauskas, the entrepreneur that cofounded the charity, to tell us the story of Vaikų svajonės and possibly inspire some other fellow foreigners to grab the closest local friend and dig in the list to make dreams come true.

How the idea behind Vaiku svajones came out, Julius?

It was born climbing the Mont Blanc, as my cousin and I got stuck in a storm for a few days and had a lot of time to think and discuss about a lot of things. Social responsibility and impact were the main topics and as both of us we were working in the IT field, we decided to use the technologies and a completely different approach to change the daily life of children that are growing in poor families in Lithuania .

What was the most difficult part in settling up the charity organization and make it work?

The biggest challenge was to make the social workers (the core part of this project) believe that this idea was worth a try. It took us basically 6 months to convince Vilnius social centers to join the project for the first year. But when the results came, everything became a lot easier and we were then able to grow significantly year after year.

How much Children have been reached by Vaiku Svajones?

During the past 9 years (the 10th season is taking shaping during these days) we were able to make 78 422 dreams come true for disadvantaged children living in poor families, in Lithuania.

What experience you treasure the most from the time you have spent running the initiative?

There is long list to make. We had many inspiring or shocking wishes during the last years (like a specific medicine for a sick mother, or a trip and a ticket to watch a movie for the first time in lifetime). There were some truly great moments: like successfully closing the first year, fulfilling 100% of the collected dreams for the first time or reaching the record of more than 18 thousand dreams fulfilled during one season. Though frankly I treasure the dreams that I fulfilled personally or together with my family the most, those emotions and experiences stick the most.

If you liked the interview and would like to participate and join the initiative, here you can find both the site and the Facebook page of Vaikų svajonės. Thanks Julius for having shared with us this amazing story: we hope it will be inspiring in many different ways!
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