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!

Aug 19, 2019

MindLeaps Guinea Students and Teachers Moving Forward

This past month, MindLeaps Executive Director Rebecca Davis visited MindLeaps Guinea, where MindLeaps has been present since 2011. In 2017, MindLeaps opened its own center in the capital city of Conakry, using its tailored, codified dance program to attract children who had previously lived on the streets or had escaped prostitution. This is crucial considering that 46% of Guinean primary school age children are out of school, and 49% of youth ages 15-24 have no formal education. Additionally, 51% of girls are married by the age of 18, and 21% by the age of 15. 

Rebecca Davis visited MindLeaps Center in Nongo, Conakry as well as the homes of several MindLeaps students. For many Guinean students in the program, MindLeaps provides much needed stability and security. Indeed, about half of MindLeaps families live in abandoned buildings and are frequently forced to move when the building becomes legally occupied. Many children sleep on the floor with little to no bedding and often, no dinner. 

Three such students, siblings Assiatou, Omar, and Abdallaye, lived in a decaying house near the Conakry MindLeaps center. During the rainy season, the roof leaked, leading to sickness within the family and forcing them to leave. Their only option was to stay with relatives outside of the city, meaning that unfortunately, the children could no longer participate in MindLeaps dance classes.  However, MindLeaps was able to provide school sponsorship for all three of the children, and today they are living in better conditions and will all be heading to school in the fall!

Despite these challenging home situations, the MindLeaps Guinea program is thriving. The children arrive to the center enthusiastic to learn and improve their dancing skills. The US Embassy has recently provided expansions to our English program. Our Guinean trainers are some of the best: Salifou and Faby are both currently abroad for a month working on MindLeaps programs in Kenya and Mauritania respectively. We are excited to see what they achieve beyond Guinea and are happy that they are part of expanding MindLeaps' work across the continent. 

MindLeaps Guinea student's home
MindLeaps Guinea student's home
MindLeaps Guinea Dance Class
MindLeaps Guinea Dance Class
Our Dance Teachers Salifou, Faby, Alya, & Ibrahima
Our Dance Teachers Salifou, Faby, Alya, & Ibrahima
Jul 24, 2019

Leaping into New Careers

In 2014, MindLeaps opened its first permanent center in Kigali, Rwanda. Since then, it has transformed many lives––and hundreds of futures. Indeed, for many of the Rwandan children who have joined MindLeaps, eating everyday was a bigger priority than attending school. Many came from single-parent households that struggle to pay rent, let alone pay school fees. However, the Kigali MindLeaps Center has given such children the opportunity to dream––and, with the support of donors, attain those dreams.

One of MindLeaps’ programs allows sponsored youth to pursue technical and vocational education and training (TVET), which is highly encouraged in Rwanda. 20 MindLeaps students have graduated in fields of their choice: 7 in hairdressing, 7 in culinary arts, and 6 in tailoring. 90% of these students are girls. Additionally, of these graduates, three have secured full time jobs immediately following their internship period. One of the culinary arts students told MindLeaps that, “During my internship at Tam Tam restaurant in Kigali, I used my culinary skills, grit, creativity and teamwork to improve customer satisfaction. After my internship, the restaurant manager immediately gave me a full-time job. I was thrilled at this opportunity, and I look forward to continuing my work.”

On June 27th, MindLeaps held a ceremony to distribute startup toolkits to graduates. Culinary arts graduates received items such as spoons, pans, pots, and graters; hairdressing trainees received hair dryers, uniforms, and hairbrushes; aspiring tailors were given sewing machines, scissors, and thread. Clementine Muteteri, a hairdressing student and Marine Uwamahoro, who studied tailoring, were among those delighted to pick up their tools.

Your contributions make these programs, toolkits, and careers possible. Without your help, MindLeaps would not be able to watch our students thrive and enter the fields of their choice. We can’t wait to help the next class of MindLeaps graduates pursue their dreams and build Rwanda’s future.

 
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