Before the outbreak of Ebola in Guinea, 47% of the population was living below the poverty line (CIA, 2015). Since 2014, West Africa has had over 11,000 deaths from Ebola. In 2020, Guinea suffered from dual health and economic crises of Covid-19 as well as a new outbreak of Ebola. MindLeaps has been serving youth in Guinea since 2011 and in 2021 is serving 380 students and their families.
Guinea is one of the poorest countries in the world and is facing a massive crisis known as the "youth bulge": 42% of the population is under the age of 14, and 90% of the population is under the age of 55. Youth are forced to become caretakers of their siblings before they even have the chance to complete their own education, thereby creating a vicious poverty cycle where only 30% of the population is literate (CIA, 2015). The youth bulge crisis is now compounded with the outbreak of Covid-19
MindLeaps provides services to 380 youth in the capital Conakry. Using high-energy dance classes to attract youth off the streets, MindLeaps' curriculum improves cognitive skills and provides psychosocial support. Youth also receive a daily meal, health workshops and academic catch-up classes. The students present dance performances to the community in order to disseminate lessons about health and safety.
MindLeaps tackles the problems of poverty, aid distribution and a lack of information by focusing on the youth. By creating a program that draws youth to the town's community center, bonds are formed with the youth and their family members. The youth regularly attend and their skills grow. MindLeaps then sponsors the students in school. MindLeaps is tackling the root causes of the problem: lack of access to education and illiteracy.