Jan 3, 2020

International Training in Conakry!

Caitlyn with team of International Trainees
Caitlyn with team of International Trainees

United States based dancer and MindLeaps trainer, Caitlyn, spent several weeks at the MindLeaps center in Guinea. While there she led the first ever iteration of MindLeaps Training for Professional dancers in the field. This training allowed dancers from the United States, Canada, Italy, and England to learn from and work with local Guinean Teachers and Staff. Emmanuel, winner of the Inaugural Annual MindLeaps Scholarship and lead refugee trainer in Rwanda's Mahama Refugee Camp traveled across the continent to participate. Read more about Emmanuel here!

Here's what Caitlyn had to say about her trip:

"I have just spent three weeks working with the MindLeaps team in Conakry, Guinea. My work on this trip was two fold. First, I led a group of four international dance trainers through advanced training of MindLeaps’ kinesthetic-based curricula, specialized teaching methodologies and practical data collection process. In just two weeks time, these four trainers learned MindLeaps standardized dance and choreography curricula, worked with local trainers and staff on specialized projects and had in field experience teaching MindLeaps students alongside local dance teachers.

Secondly, I worked with the local dance teachers and a group of performance students on a choreographic project titled “Our Voices.” In this project, we used dance to tell each child’s unique and inspiring story of personal transformation.

My time in Guinea was short but full. We danced, laughed, learned and certainly, sweat a whole lot! As I head back to the United States, I know I will carry with me the immense passion and boundless energy of Guinea."

Guinean Students in rehearsal
Guinean Students in rehearsal
Nov 18, 2019

Inaugural Annual MindLeaps Scholarship Recipient to Travel to Guinea

In October, the Inaugural Annual MindLeaps Scholarship was awarded to one refugee MindLeaps Trainer! This year's receipient is Emmanuel, lead refugee trainer in the Mahama camp in Rwanda. This scholarship will allow Emmanuel to travel to Guinea on his school break in December to be a part of the International Train The Trainer’s program. He will also receive training from Guinean MindLeaps Trainers.

While in Guinea, he will enhance his ability to communicate and teach the MindLeaps curriculum and methodology. Emmanuel will then return to his camp to share his newly acquired knowledge with his peers and community. This will help them develop the necessary skills to gain opportunity for an improved life. Congratulations, Emmanuel! We are so proud of your hard work, and we can't wait to have you at the MindLeaps Center in Guinea!!

Emmanuel's story

Emmanuel was born in Burundi. He and his family fled as refugees, and they have been living in the Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda since 2015. Currently he is a student at Paysannat L Secondary School in Mahama where he studies Literature (English), Kiswahili, and French. In 2018, Emmanuel was selected to join the MindLeaps training program where he quickly rose to the top of his cohort for his natural technical dance ability and his exemplary character. Now, he is currently the lead trainer of the Mahama program - not to mention a positive role model for Mahama youth. Emmanuel is passionate about ballet and contemporary dance, and he has the natural physical qualities for a classical dancer, like flexibility, excellent feet, and the ability to be emotive when dancing.

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
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