Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania

by MindLeaps
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Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania
Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania
Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania
Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania
Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania
Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania
Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania
Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania
Educate 120 Girls in Mauritania

In our last update, we reported that Mauritania has reached an exciting milestone: with low infection rates, the government has reopened schools and MindLeaps dance classes have resumed. Working with our local partner, SOS Pairs Educateurs, MindLeaps dance classes restarted in Nouakchott and are now reaching 90 vulnerable kids - 65 girls and 25 boys.  

These classes are taught by seven local youth who have been through MindLeaps training program to become dance teachers. In addition to teaching dance classes, these youth are developing their skills as community leaders through MindLeaps Virtual Academy. Both the dance classes and Virtual Academy are funded by the U.S. Embassy in Mauritania with the goals of reducing poverty, promoting an inclusive society, and increasing cultural exchange between the U.S. and Mauritania.

There are a total of 20 youth from the community ages 16 – 26 who are part of the Virtual Academy. They have all expressed an interest in advancing their lives and communities but lacked access to existing support networks, financial resources, or stable livelihoods. These youth are also representative of all ethnic groups in Mauritania. Throughout the last few months, MindLeaps has observed that an active and supportive community is being built between these 20 youth. The participants have now completed the Virtual Academy’s modules on Digital Literacy, Business Entrepreneurship, Project Management and Budgeting, and Child Development. They will soon begin the module on Communications. Finally, the youth will be joining cultural exchanges with American students; the first of these virtual exchanges will take place later this week.


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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.

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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:

SOS Pairs Educateurs is also providing information resources for the community on their website:

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.

SOS Pairs Educateurs leading distribution
SOS Pairs Educateurs leading distribution


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Location: New York - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MindLeaps
Project Leader:
Rebecca Davis
New York, New York United States
$2,640 raised of $10,000 goal
72 donations
$7,360 to go
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