Oct 2, 2020

MindLeaps Virtual Academy in Nouakchott

Virtual Academy launched this month in Mauritania
Virtual Academy launched this month in Mauritania

During the pandemic, MindLeaps has launched a Virtual Academy to continue the education and skill development of our trainers and students. To accommodate low bandwidth locations, minimal electricity and poor living conditions, the classes are delivered through WhatsApp groups 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.

MindLeaps launched the Virtual Academy in Nouakchott in mid-September supported by the U.S. Embassy in Mauritania. The curricula, homework assignments, and video and audio lessons are available to the students in English, French, and Arabic. Twenty youth between the ages of 16 and 25 are part of the initial group – ten are current MindLeaps dance trainers and ten are youth from the community who attend programs at our local partner, SOS Pairs Educateurs.

The Academy began with a one-week course on digital literacy, followed by a five-week course on Business Entrepreneurship. The students take class from 4:30pm-6:30pm, Monday through Friday, followed by homework assignments on their own schedule. For the practical part of the course, students brainstorm business ideas and then pitch their businesses in a five-minute presentation in the final class. As always, MindLeaps leverages the skill of its trainers and staff from across the world in executing its programs. The Teaching Assistant for this course is Yves, one of MindLeaps dance trainers from Oruchinga Refugee Settlement in Uganda.

MindLeaps Virtual Academy measures the students' progress through quantitative and qualitative data assessments. On the quantitative side- information is collected on engagement, attendance, and homework completion. Qualitatively, MindLeaps examines the growth of hope, long-term vision, and community building. The impact of the Academy is to equip these 20 youth in Nouakchott with skills they can use to be economically independent, as well as become effective youth leaders in their communities. 

In an exciting milestone, Mauritania’s low infection rates are enabling it to currently reopen its schools. In accordance with governmental guidelines, MindLeaps dance classes can resume next month at our partner SOS Pairs Educateurs.

Sep 10, 2020

MindLeaps Student Led Businesses in the Academy

MindLeaps student Sifa presents via Zoom
MindLeaps student Sifa presents via Zoom

During the pandemic, MindLeaps has launched a Virtual Academy to continue the education and skill development of our trainers and students. 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.

40 students from MindLeaps Rwanda are part of the initial group enrolled in the Virtual Academy. This includes several girls from our Girls LEAD program.

The second module was on Project Management and Budgeting, where students learn the steps involved in planning, executing and evaluating a project. For the final project for the course, students plan a business using the tools they learned and then present them to their fellow students on Zoom.

Sifa is one of MindLeaps students from the Girls LEAD program. Sifa previously went through the MindLeaps dance program and is now sponsored to attend school at White Dove Global Prep. Sifa was enjoying school, but then COVID-19 broke out, and her education was interrupted. MindLeaps Virtual Academy helps maintain the structure, learning, and forward momentum in Sifa’s and our other students’ lives during this difficult time.

On the final day of the Project Management course, Sifa presented her business idea to her classmates via Zoom. Her idea was a company called “Sisters Keep Up”, to empower high school age girls. She spoke about the project, implementation process, budget, and evaluation procedures. She explained the company will teach leadership skills, public speaking, and reproductive health to help girls determine their own futures.  You can watch the full presentation online here: https://youtu.be/9ruRm2Bfx5g?t=269

MindLeaps students present their business ideas
MindLeaps students present their business ideas
Sep 3, 2020

MindLeaps Virtual Academy

During the pandemic, MindLeaps' mission to create educational paths for vulnerable youth remains unchanged. MindLeaps has launched a Virtual Academy to continue the education and skill development of our trainers and students during this time. 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.

As of this summer, trainers from all eight of our programs in Rwanda (Kigali, Masoro, and in six refugee camps) are studying in MindLeaps Virtual Academy, as well as 40 kids at our permanent center.

In August, MindLeaps Rwanda began the module on Child Development taught by creative arts therapist and researcher Dr. Janelle Junkin. The course covered the different stages of child development, studied trauma and its impacts, as well as cognitive behavioral therapy interventions. The participants completed the course by presenting their own project to help children in their community. This course was particularly relevant to our trainers from the refugee camps. As teachers to refugee children in their camps, every child they work with has experienced trauma. And as refugees themselves, the understanding of trauma has helped generate self-awareness needed to work constructively with others. One of the trainers, Joseph, from Gihembe Refugee Camp said “There are times that a child acts out, and being patient is difficult and we overreact to the child. But now, we are aware of our thoughts and emotions that lead to our reactions and are able to be better teachers.” And Ninette from Mahama Refugee Camp said “I now know how a child develops in different stages and how I can help a child who has experienced trauma. Now, I have the confidence that I can help my community and my students.”  

 
WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.