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!
Our 2017 Class of Graduating Girls
Our 2017 Class of Graduating Girls

MindLeaps is thrilled to announce our partnership with AIC in Rwanda! AIC is a women’s organization that supports local projects in Rwanda. This month, MindLeaps will receive support from AIC to purchase sanitation kits for our new girls enrolled in our program.

These sanitation kits include essential items to meet the basic needs of each girl attending our program, including: shoes, a toothbrush, soap, toothpaste, a dance uniform, and sanitary napkins. Vulnerable school girls that joined our program in February will be presented with their special, individual sanitation kit as a reward for their commitment and ongoing hard work to improve their lives through MindLeaps. In almost all cases, this will be the first item ever “owned” by these girls. 

An increase in primary school drop-out rates is one of the new issues facing the Government of Rwanda. Ensuring that girls have their basic health needs met is an important factor to changing this trend. MindLeaps is helping vulnerable in-school girls this year through our program and the delivery of sanitation kits to help improve school retention and performance rates. 

Last month, I had the chance to meet some of the new girls in our 2018 program at MindLeaps in Kigali.  I was amazed to see that all of these girls were eager to practice their English and wanted to know if they could "take extra classes" at our center.  It was a clear reminder that the opportunity to learn is never taken for granted in Rwanda - or by the children who need it most.

MindLeaps is grateful to all of you – our GlobalGiving supporters – for making it possible to enroll more girls in our program this year. With the new support of AIC, these girls will have access to our programming to improve their emotional well-being and tangible materials to safeguard their physical well-being. Together, these girls lives are improving – step by step.

Thank you.

Sanitation Kits Given Last Year
Sanitation Kits Given Last Year
Girls at MindLeaps
Girls at MindLeaps
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We are so proud of our class of new girls who joined MindLeaps in 2017. They have completed MindLeaps' full program and are ready to move on to school in January 2018. Throughout the year, in addition to MindLeaps' dance and IT classes, they were also receiving academic acceleration courses from teachers at the prestigious White Dove Girls School. These courses helped them catch up in all subject areas: English, Social Studies, Science, Math, and Kinyarwanda, so that they can hit the ground running when they enter school in 2018.

We are now finding sponsors to support them at the school that is right for their age and education level. Some will go to primary school, others to secondary school and still others will enroll in vocational training. The girls are looking forward to returning to school and pursuing their career goals - like Joyeuse who wants to become a doctor, and Francine who dreams of becoming a secondary school teacher. You can read biographies of our students who are ready for the next phase of their lives here: http://mindleapssponsorships.weebly.com.

In addition to their academic readiness, the girls also showcased their wonderful progress in their dance classes with two end of the year performances:

On November 4, several of our students performed at Heaven Restaurant. This gave them the opportunity to collaborate and showcase their progress. The performance was staged by American dancers Chase Johnsey and Carlos Renedo of Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo.

In December, our girls performed at a local center for street boys, Les Enfants de Dieu. You can see the fabulous choreography and great partnering work in this video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LiVR78KjTic

Entering school in 2018 is a huge step for our girls in exiting off the streets and entering fulfilling careers.

Thank you for helping our Girls Lead! 

Performance at Heaven Restaurant
Performance at Heaven Restaurant
Performance at Les Enfants de Dieu
Performance at Les Enfants de Dieu
Partnering Work
Partnering Work
Future teacher, Francine
Future teacher, Francine

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Students in Akazi Kanoze program
Students in Akazi Kanoze program

Our Rwandan social worker, Kellen Mbabazi, conducts weekly home visits in order to examine and provide support for the challenging situations that our students face. Kellen reported on her recent home visit to MindLeaps student, Joyce:

“I visited Joyce's family located in Nyakabanda sector in Kigali. It is a family of seven people, five children and both parents. The father is the one who works, and he struggles to make enough just to feed his family. Regarding the issue of school fees, he can’t afford it at all with the money he makes. Joyce is the first born among the children and none of them go to school because of poverty. ”

Joyce joined MindLeaps at the beginning of 2017. After several weeks in the MindLeaps program, Joyce told us: “I used to be crying all of the time. I started to feel human again when I joined MindLeaps.” She has been doing very well and growing in all skill-levels over the past several months. From the data collected, MindLeaps staff was able to determine that she is ready to reintegrate into school in 2018, which will be possible with tuition and family support.

Joyce will be attending primary school in 2018, but for several of our older girls, they have been out of school for many years, and it is too late for many of them to return to primary school. For these youth, once they have been rehabilitated through MindLeaps dance program, we raise scholarships to send them to vocational training centers rather than regular primary school. 

In order to help these girls succeed, MindLeaps partnered with Akazi Kanoze this summer to provide a special program at the MindLeaps Center. Akazi Kanoze’s mission is to provide Rwandan youth with the employability skills, capital, and support necessary to take advantage of economic opportunities. This partnership helped MindLeaps' students take the next steps in their careers. We have several students currently in vocational school, and several more that have already graduated. We partnered with Akazi Kanoze to provide our graduated VTC students with the employability, business, and entrepreneurial skills needed to significantly contribute to the economic development of their families, communities and country.

As always, thank you so much for your support of Joyce and all the talented young women in our program.

Home visit to Joyce's family
Home visit to Joyce's family
Joyce
Joyce

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Kellen (left) visits a new student's family
Kellen (left) visits a new student's family

The girls who come to MindLeaps are out-of-school and suffering from difficult challenges in their lives. Unfortunately, the challenges don’t stop when they start coming to MindLeaps.

Our Rwandan social worker, Kellen Mbabazi, regularly meets with each MindLeaps student and conducts home visits. During recent visits, she discovered that, while three students were at MindLeaps, one of the girls’ fathers had ended up in prison, another one’s mother became sick and is now in the hospital, and another’s relative had died. The girls had desperate feelings about how they were going to continue with their only source of support gone. Kellen provided both comfort and moral support and helped the girls problem-solve to figure out next steps. And, as always, MindLeaps is there for them as a resource during the day, providing shelter, education and food.

An important part of the MindLeaps curriculum is developing Social and Emotional Learning skills in our students. The dance curriculum teaches discipline, and we are able to track changes in this skill over time through our measurement and evaluation system. One of our students - Angelique - was exhibiting some discipline problems. During weekly meetings, Kellen discussed with Angelique two topics: “What is respect?" and "How do you handle yourself in front of teachers?”

Social-Emotional Learning skills that might be obvious to others need to be fostered and developed in many of our students. Kellen is an independent, career-minded female role model for our young girls.  In addition to the skill development in the dance classes, mentoring from MindLeaps teachers and staff is an important part of helping our girls grow.

Kellen makes sure to visit our graduated girls as well. These are girls that completed MindLeaps program in 2016 and are now enrolled in school. Some of these girls have more familiar problems, like struggling in French class. Being in school, getting to take French class, and then having to work through the difficulties of learning French, is a good new problem for these girls to face when you consider their backgrounds. 

Moving girls off the streets, through our rehabilitation program and into formal education is the work of MindLeaps.  You are making each of these pieces possible and bringing this holistic healing to some of the most vulnerable girls in Rwanda.

Thank you!

Visit to MindLeaps girls at CEFORM Vocation School
Visit to MindLeaps girls at CEFORM Vocation School
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2017 MindLeaps Girls Program
2017 MindLeaps Girls Program

2017 at the MindLeaps Center in Kigali

The girls who have joined MindLeaps in 2017 are now four months into our program and are very immersed in our curricula. They are receiving dance classes three days per week and - new this year - an academic acceleration program, run by teachers from the excellent White Dove Girls School in Rwanda. These MindLeaps students are now catching up on all subject areas: Math, Science, Kinyarwanda, Social Studies, and English. You can see a picture of the students in our academic acceleration program below. Also new this year, MindLeaps students received a series of workshops on sexual and reproductive health taught by Abdallah from our annual Rugerero program.

Without a doubt, the full MindLeaps program is a challenging environment, and the demands we place on the students are high. The students must commit to our rigorous class schedule in order to stay in the program. When there are multiple absences our social worker, Kellen, finds out why. Sometimes the absences are due to illness or worsening life situations. When that is the case, Kellen provides additional advice and support for our students so that they can go to MindLeaps as much as possible. However, if absences are due to a lack of commitment, then we find new students to fill these open spots. Spots opened up recently and Kellen has recruited two new students who will be joining this week: Solange and Sonia. You can see a family photo with these two and their mother below. Solange and Sonia got as far as sixth and fifth grades respectively before needing to drop out because their parents could no longer pay for their school fees. This family eats once a day and sometimes doesn’t eat the whole day. We will report back on their progress in a few months.

2016 MindLeaps graduates now enrolled in school

The girls who went through MindLeaps program in 2016 are now enrolled in school and doing very well. The first trimester ended a couple weeks ago and we have received their first term report cards. Over 50% of our students scored in the top 20% of their classes. Pascaline scored a tremendous 96.7% and received perfect scores in her English, Mathematics, and Science classes. She is 3rd in her class of 60 students!

Several of our students from last year are enrolled in local day schools in Nyamirambo. These students take advantage of MindLeaps' after-school program, where our graduated students can come back to work on their homework with MindLeaps staff and local volunteers and enjoy a meal. Because they come back to visit, our graduate girls are an inspiration to the girls currently at the MindLeaps Center. Our current students can see that if they work hard and improve over the course of the year, next year they will be ready to attend and succeed in school, just like Pascaline.

Students in MindLeaps acceleration program
Students in MindLeaps acceleration program
Two new MindLeaps students: Sonia and Solange
Two new MindLeaps students: Sonia and Solange
Health workshops taught by Abdallah
Health workshops taught by Abdallah
Pascaline's report card from Intwari PrimarySchool
Pascaline's report card from Intwari PrimarySchool

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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
$24,360 raised of $37,500 goal
 
229 donations
$13,140 to go
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