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Oct 22, 2019

Girl LEAD-ers Form New Alumni Engagement Group

Girls Dancing Outside at the Center
Girls Dancing Outside at the Center

Many children in Rwanda spend their days on the streets, doing small jobs and searching for food because they do not have a stable home life or structured school program. This situation is especially dangerous for girls in the country. This is why our Girls Program in Rwanda is so important-- it offers girls who suffer from poverty, domestic abuse, parental rejection, and early pregnancy to have a chance at educational and personal growth. Our Girls Program allows young women in Rwanda to engage in curriculum that not only increases self-confidence and cognitive skills through dance, but also includes academic lessons, IT classes, daily meals, a health and sanitation program, and counseling sessions.  

The school year in Rwanda is broken up into three trimesters starting in January and ending in November, with lengthy breaks in between each term. Our boarding schools and day schools were both on break this August, and many of our students used this month to visit their MindLeaps home in Nyamirambo. Here, some students were immersed in our programs in new ways, from assistant teaching dance classes to tutoring their peers in academic subjects in preparation for end of year exams. Many of our girls also hosted debates, which are often a part of Rwandan education. During this break, many older students formed a new alumni engagement group at the center. Wanting to be as helpful as possible, the group assists during the weekend program, makes the schedule, and implements it themselves.

Our young women LEADers are instrumental in the success of this program. MindLeaps alumnae like Sifa and Giselle and Divine use their breaks to participate more in our program and to be mentors to younger students. Upon joining MindLeaps in 2015, Sifa found a safe, comforting and welcoming place at the Nyamirambo center. Shortly thereafter, her hard work and determination earned her a scholarship to attend the White Dove Girls School. Her progress would not be possible without the confidence, perseverance, and stability that the Girls Program helped her develop.

Without your generous contributions, these programs would not be possible. Your support helps girls like Sifa and Giselle and Divine to grow so much as individuals, and their enthusiasm for the Girls Program is evident in their passion to give back to the program. These girls are now set up for bright futures, are role models for younger girls, and will become active in the employment sector of Rwanda-- none of which would be possible without a strong educational foundation.

MindLeaps Alumni, Giselle and Divine
MindLeaps Alumni, Giselle and Divine
Oct 11, 2019

Fiston: MindLeaps Student Turned Teacher

Class in Masoro
Class in Masoro

MindLeaps recently expanded in Rwanda thanks to Kate Spade New York’s on purpose Fund. This allowed the program to launch in Masoro, providing 30 youth an opportunity to participate in the Train The Trainer program. This program prepares the potential trainers to continue building the MindLeaps program and promoting success for the people in Masoro. Out of the 30 participants, 8 new trainers have graduated and have begun teaching the 100 children now involved in MindLeaps Masoro. One trainer leading the program is former MindLeaps student, Fiston.

Back in 2015, when MindLeaps opened its center in Kigali, Rwanda, Fiston was hesitant to dive right in. He had never experienced dance before. He thought it was a waste of time and did not attend class consistently or focus when he did. Eventually after watching other kids find happiness and success in the program, he decided to put his heart into it and obtained school sponsorship. In 2018, after committing to improve his English speaking abilities, his leadership skills in dance classes, creativity in performance, and overall academic performance, Fiston finished high school.

Now, Fiston holds an essential role in Masoro as a MindLeaps trainer. Without dedicated trainers and the generosity of the on purpose Fund, MindLeaps' work would not be possible. We would not be able to impact the lives of so many children, improving their cognitive and social emotional learning skills preparing them to leap ahead in life.

Thank you for your generous support of MindLeaps students like Fiston over the past several years! With your help, our students are starting to graduate from secondary school and are becoming productive members of the workforce.

Fiston in Class
Fiston in Class
Oct 8, 2019

Start of the New School Year in Guinea

Guinea students on their first day of school!
Guinea students on their first day of school!

New School Year in Guinea

It's the beginning of the school year in Guinea and with it comes a lot of exciting news for MindLeaps. Last year, we were able to send 16 MindLeaps students to school. This year, we are sending an additional 52 students to Primary, Secondary, and Vocational Training schools! Thanks to your support, we are now able to sponsor the education of 68 young people in Guinea. To aid in this transition, MindLeaps International Coordinator, Eugene Dushime has traveled to our center in Conakry. Dushime, the fomer country director of our Rwanda program, has mastered the massive task of organizing the transition to school, a task that also includes the organizing of new backpacks, pencils, notebooks, and other necessary school supplies.

In a country with a literacy rate of only about 32% for adults aged 15 years and over (UNESCO Institute for Statistics, 2014), the abilty for a child to go to school is rare. Your generosity allows nearly 70 vulerable youth the opportunity for brighter futures. Thank you!!

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MindLeaps Success Story

Only a few years ago, Saifou was a MindLeaps student in Guinea. Now, as a member of the International MindLeaps Team, he travels all across the continent delivering the MindLeaps program to vulnerable children in many countries. This month, he had the opportunity to travel to Kenya to help lauch a new program in Kisumu. This project was especially exciting because it marked the launch of our new inclusive curriculum that allows the MindLeaps program to better work with students with greater and different learning needs. Even more exciting is that for the first time, each of the 5 MindLeaps countries were represented in a single program. The team included trainers from Guinea, Mauritania, Uganda, Rwanda, and Kenya!

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NYC Train The Trainers Comes to Guinea

For the first time, our New York City based Train The Trainers program for professional dancers is formally heading to the field. After a 2-week intensive training in NYC this summer, trainers will travel to Guinea for Tier 2 of their training in December. While in Guinea, the trainers will have rigorous 8-hour days that are filled with intensive dance movment and teaching. They will gain experience working in the field learning from experienced MindLeaps staff and working with MindLeaps students. We are excited for the first iteration of this training program to happen at our shining Conakry center. Check back with us in the new year to hear stories from the week!

 
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