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Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!

by MindLeaps
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Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
Let's Help 100 Girls Lead!
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
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One of the MindLeaps' families receiving meals
One of the MindLeaps' families receiving meals

Before joining MindLeaps, vulnerable girls in Rwanda who suffer from poverty are forced to drop out of school and survive on the streets. The girls who come to MindLeaps Rwanda's Jim Bell Centre in Kigali rely on us to provide a safe space to learn, dance, and eat daily meals.

Shutdowns across the country mean that the girls can no longer come for the food and safety they relied on. To compound this desperate situation, COVID-19 is deepening food insecurity across the continent due to economic downturns, movement restrictions, and illness. Our obligation to help the vulnerable girls in our care is more pressing than ever. 

To provide emergency relief to our kids and their families, MindLeaps is distributing monthly food and sanitation packages. With special government permission, and above and beyond their usual duties as dance teachers, our staff purchases food and sanitation supplies in bulk, repackages them into family-sized portions, and delivers them directly to affected families’ homes. When visiting the families, in addition to distributing supplies, our staff discuss best practices in sanitation and staying healthy, practices that will be essential for turning the tide of new infections and keeping our students and their families well.

With your support, MindLeaps is helping deliver these life-saving meals and supplies to 240 families throughout Rwanda. You can see the distribution near a MindLeaps Center in this video.

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Sumaya (left) with her friend
Sumaya (left) with her friend

The end of the calendar year marks the end of the Rwandan school year. In 2019, MindLeaps was able to sponsor 168 Rwandan children in formal education, including 83 girls!

The opportunity to go to school is life changing for these girls. It gives them the chance to succeed in life, to become independent, and to feel confident and valuable. It also creates long-term positive impacts on their families and communities. 

Let's meet two MindLeaps girls who both had an excellent year back in school:

Sumaya

Sumaya lives with her single mother in Nyamirambo, a poor community on the outskirts of Kigali. Before MindLeaps, she only ate when her mother was able to find temporary work. They faced extreme financial struggles, so much so that even hand washing their clothes was often too expensive. Then Sumaya found MindLeaps. Although her family still struggles financially, Sumaya has benefitted from the MindLeaps program immensely. It is exciting that she is able to attend school and to eat every day.

Sumaya recently completed Primary 5 (Fifth Grade) in December. She had a very successful year, earning A grades in French, Culture, and Sports. Even more amazingly, she ranked 2nd in her class of 60 students! That places her in the top 3% among her peers! Sumaya is also excelling outside of school. During a small end-of-year performance held at the MindLeaps Center, Sumaya had a featured role!

We are very proud of Sumaya's accomplishments this year. Her success in school allows her to continue to dream big. Some day, she hopes to become a Minister of Education in Rwanda to help ensure that all children are able to go to school in the future.

Aimee

Prior to joining MindLeaps, 12-year-old Aimee's home life was very difficult. Her older sister is the main provider of the household. She bought the house where Aimee and her mother live. Having only one main source of income means her family struggles to get by. The resulting emotional stress caused Aimee to struggle in school, despite the fact that she is naturally bright. When she joined MindLeaps, the Accelerated Learning Program at the Center helped her catch up with her classmates and achieve better grades. MindLeaps also gave her the opportunity to learn about sexual and reproductive health.

Aimee recently completed P5 (Fifth Grade) at a local school where she thrived. She finished the school year ranking 1st in her class of 60 students! What an awesome achievement! With continued support, Aimee can continue to work hard and succeed in school. Someday, maybe she will achieve her dream of becoming a pilot for Rwandair.

Thank you for your generosity that directly impacts the lives of these vulnerable girls. Your kind donations allow them to feel worthy of big dreams.

Aimee's Amazing Report Card
Aimee's Amazing Report Card
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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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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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Organization Information

MindLeaps

Location: New York - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MindLeaps
Project Leader:
Rebecca Davis
New York, New York United States
$24,345 raised of $37,500 goal
 
228 donations
$13,155 to go
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