Aug 27, 2020

Continuing Support and Education During COVID-19

Food distribution to MindLeaps Guinea families
Food distribution to MindLeaps Guinea families

MindLeaps is continuing its mission to provide education and support to vulnerable youth in Guinea, helping them move forward despite the added challenges of Covid-19.

Homework Distribution
MindLeaps works with kids who have had to drop out of school due to poverty or conflict. Following completion of the MindLeaps program, MindLeaps sponsors these students to attend formal education. Due to Covid-19, schools have been shutdown and the children's educations have been interrupted yet again. To help these students continue their studies and stay on the path towards graduation, MindLeaps has initiated a system of homework distribution. Our teachers create lesson plans in primary and secondary school levels, hand deliver them to each student's household, and pick up and review the previous week's assignments.

MindLeaps Virtual Academy
MindLeaps has launched a Virtual Academy to continue the education and skill development of our trainers and students during the pandemic. To accommodate low bandwidth locations, minimal electricity and poor living conditions, the classes are delivered through WhatsApp classes and by low-resolution videos on smartphones. Through this format, the Academy enables international experts to deliver culturally modified curricula in five core subjects: Business Entrepreneurship, Project Management & Budgeting, Child Development, Communications, and Inclusion. In August, MindLeaps Guinea began the module on Child Development taught by creative arts therapist and researcher Dr. Janelle Junkin.

Family Strengthening and Business Support
The families of those at MindLeaps are already facing extreme poverty and food insecurity. The shutdowns and economic fallout from the pandemic has caused many work activities – which were the source of survival for poor families – to stop suddenly, which has greatly worsened the poverty these families are facing. Since March, MindLeaps has been providing distributions of food and sanitation supplies to 130 local families in Conakry. MindLeaps staff delivers the food to each family ensuring that all families are cared for and safe. In addition, MindLeaps has begun a new microgrant program towards family strengthening in Guinea: we are funding 20 mothers of MindLeaps students to start new businesses with the aim of improving these families' economic recovery from Covid-19. 

Health & Safety of our Girls
MindLeaps Guinea has launched a Sexual and Reproductive Health Program, following the success of the SRH program implemented at MindLeaps Rwanda in 2018. In Guinea, after an intial meeting with their parents on the class, we have enrolled 29 of our girls ages 13 and older in this new program. Two female staff members are running the classes, teaching sex education, reproductive health, as well as distributing sanitary napkins to the girls, who would otherwise not be able to afford them.

We are so grateful for your support in providing our children and their families with the food and resources, healthy habits, and education that enables them to keep reaching for their dreams. 

Homework distribution
Homework distribution
Jun 3, 2020

Emergency Relief in Nouakchott, Mauritania

Supplies for emergency distribution
Supplies for emergency distribution

In Nouakchott, the capital of Mauritania, MindLeaps works with vulnerable girls from El Mina, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the city. Before the pandemic, MindLeaps provided dance classes, nutrition, and school sponsorship in collaboration with our local partner SOS Pairs Educateurs. When the pandemic broke out, the dance classes and services shutdown, but the need to continue serving these girls was more essential than ever.

The government took drastic actions to limit the spread of COVID-19 including curfews, closing schools, borders, and airports, closing all shops except for food, and ending non-essential work. Many work activities - which were the source of survival for poor families - stopped suddenly, which has greatly worsened the extreme poverty these families are facing. 

In response, our partner SOS Pairs Educateurs with support from Exxon Mobil is distributing emergency relief supplies, focusing on the Lekreiga section of El Mina. In Lekreiga, the average household size is between 7 and 8 people, and 30% of children are under the age of 10. SOS Pairs Educateurs is working with the local government of Mauritania to coordinate the distribution of over 400 kits to our students' families and to all families in the Lekreiga district. 

The relief supplies distributed to each family included:
• 25 kg of rice
• 10 kg of sugar
• 5 liters of oil
• 2 liters of bleach
• 5 bars of soap

You can see some of SOS Pairs Educateurs' work here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b0-3PQDcscc&feature=youtu.be

SOS Pairs Educateurs is also providing information resources for the community on their website: http://sospairs.org/covid-19

Mauritania is formulating reopening plans and looking towards opening schools later this summer, at which point MindLeaps' dance classes can resume. Until that time, MindLeaps and SOS Pairs Educateurs are continuing to support these vulnerable girls in their health and nutrition needs. In addition, MindLeaps is aiming to continue the training of its Mauritanian dance trainers through the new Virtual Academy, to build their skills as project managers and leaders.

We are so grateful for your support of these girls in Mauritania especially during these challenging times. They are looking forward to continuing their dance classes and education as soon as it is safe to do so.

Lekreiga
Lekreiga
SOS Pairs Educateurs leading distribution
SOS Pairs Educateurs leading distribution

Links:

May 14, 2020

Emergency Food Relief for MindLeaps Students and Families

One of the MindLeaps' families receiving meals
One of the MindLeaps' families receiving meals

Before joining MindLeaps, vulnerable girls in Rwanda who suffer from poverty are forced to drop out of school and survive on the streets. The girls who come to MindLeaps Rwanda's Jim Bell Centre in Kigali rely on us to provide a safe space to learn, dance, and eat daily meals.

Shutdowns across the country mean that the girls can no longer come for the food and safety they relied on. To compound this desperate situation, COVID-19 is deepening food insecurity across the continent due to economic downturns, movement restrictions, and illness. Our obligation to help the vulnerable girls in our care is more pressing than ever. 

To provide emergency relief to our kids and their families, MindLeaps is distributing monthly food and sanitation packages. With special government permission, and above and beyond their usual duties as dance teachers, our staff purchases food and sanitation supplies in bulk, repackages them into family-sized portions, and delivers them directly to affected families’ homes. When visiting the families, in addition to distributing supplies, our staff discuss best practices in sanitation and staying healthy, practices that will be essential for turning the tide of new infections and keeping our students and their families well.

With your support, MindLeaps is helping deliver these life-saving meals and supplies to 240 families throughout Rwanda. You can see the distribution near a MindLeaps Center in this video.

Links:

 
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