Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea

by MindLeaps
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Help 250 Youth Recover From Ebola in Guinea
Celebrating 32 Graduates of the Virtual Academy
Celebrating 32 Graduates of the Virtual Academy

On September 5th, special forces led by Col. Doumbouya ousted (now former) President Alpha Conde and suspended the constitution. MindLeaps immediately ordered all staff, kids, and trainers to stay inside and off the streets. Thankfully all MindLeaps students, teachers and children are safe.

Col. Doumbouya released political prisoners, and met with opposition leaders. It is anticipated that the country will call elections. Beyond all else, there is hope that a new government representative of the major ethnic groups – Peul, Malinke and Susu – could bring peace and economic development.

Although Guinea has faced political instability, MindLeaps has accomplished a great deal over the past couple of months. Team Guinea recently signed a 10-year lease on land to break ground for a new MindLeaps center. In September, MindLeaps held a ceremony to celebrate 32 graduates of the Virtual Academy with UNHCR. Just a few days after the coup, MindLeaps resumed operations including dance and academic classes and meals, as well as running a Train The Trainer program to teach female youth to become new dance teachers.

In July 2021, MindLeaps Guinea students who are sponsored in school completed the academic year and their national exams. MindLeaps is also very proud to announce that sixty students are completing the dance program in Guinea this year and are now ready to be sponsored in school. MindLeaps students are looking forward to the new school year starting in October. The coup d'etat has shaken Guinea, but operations at MindLeaps Guinea and its support for its students continues undaunted.

Train The Trainer session
Train The Trainer session
Country Director Ansou Conde on MindLeaps new land
Country Director Ansou Conde on MindLeaps new land

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Donation from The Lions Club
Donation from The Lions Club

As the 2020-21 school year comes to a close in Guinea, primary school students will soon take national exams in order to advance to secondary school. MindLeaps is currently sponsoring 152 MindLeaps Guinea students, several of which are in preparation for these final tests.

The MindLeaps Guinea program continues to provide academic acceleration courses to help the students build a foundation in reading and writing in English and French, with lessons on vocabulary, grammar and conjugation. MindLeaps staff members continue to conduct home and school visits in order to check on the progress of MindLeaps students in school and monitor when additional support is needed.

In other news, a donation of supplies was received by The Lions Club in Guinea on July 1st. Also in July, a new partnership with Vertice began; Vertice now delivers meals to the students at the MindLeaps Center in Conakry who are participating in the afterschool program. And in August, 40 local youth will begin a three-month MindLeaps Train the Trainer program with the goal of training new dance teachers.

Lastly, MindLeaps coordinated a cultural exchange between MindLeaps Guinea and a United States high school in May. MindLeaps dance trainers and students from Guinea spent one hour on Zoom with Social Studies and French classes from Waverly Community Schools in Lansing, Michigan. Students from both countries shared about their families, cultures, and hobbies, and MindLeaps Guinea students also performed a traditional Guinean dance (photo below). They also had the opportunity to ask each other questions about their lives and countries. The U.S. Social Studies teacher remarked, "this is the exact type of experience that translates classroom learning to authentic application. I can guarantee you that my two student presenters will forget many lessons from this year but will never forget their presentation, in French, to their new Guinean friends.”

MindLeaps Guinea students sponsored in school
MindLeaps Guinea students sponsored in school
Students performing Guinean dance in the exchange
Students performing Guinean dance in the exchange

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MindLeaps Guinea’s center in Conakry has reopened activities following health and safety guidelines. Dance, English, and French classes and daily meals have resumed for 126 children. In addition, the Sexual and Reproductive Health classes are reaching 39 girls  (more on the SRH program below). 138 MindLeaps students who have gone through our program in Guinea are now sponsored at 18 different primary, secondary, and vocational training schools, with 60% of these students performing in the top 20% of their school classes.

Also at MindLeaps Guinea, we just completed our ten-month long Julia Taft Program which aims to educate and prepare young entrepreneurs to own their own businesses. The students took courses in business entrepreneurship, project management and budgeting, communication, child development, inclusion, and digital literacy. Each course ran for four weeks and classes were held 4 to 8:30pm nightly. The most recent course they finished was on Inclusion; some of the learning objectives included understanding developmental theories, learning to build inclusion within their community, and how to utilize the arts to aid inclusion. To complete the 10-month program, all the students presented their business ideas to an international panel of MindLeaps staff. The top 10 received $350 in seed funding to start their businesses. This program was supported by the U.S. Embassy in Conakry.

The SRH classes in Conakry are continuing for a group of 39 girls ages 14-19. In addition to the educational topics, the classes provide an opportunity for the instructors, Jenneh Jabbie and Mariame Sylla, to check in with the girls and help with any concerns or challenges they may have. MindLeaps has also been instructing the girls and their parents on important information regarding Covid-19 and the newly resurfaced Ebola disease along with helpful directions for maintaining hygienic practices during these times. MindLeaps is also working to provide menstrual products such as sanitary napkins for the girls who attend these classes.

Despite the ongoing health and economic challenges of Covid-19 and the new Ebola outbreak, MindLeaps is working hard to support all our students in Conakry.

Daily meals are held outdoors
Daily meals are held outdoors
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Students in Project Management & Budgeting Course
Students in Project Management & Budgeting Course

This fall, MindLeaps is running virtual and some in-person activities for youth at our Center in Guinea in accordance with guidelines from the local government. 

In September, MindLeaps launched a new program for refugees in Conakry. The program serves 32 refugees, returnees, and young Guineans over 7 months. The youth are organized into 3 learning groups to study six subjects in MindLeaps Virtual Academy. So far, they have completed courses in Digital Literacy, Business Entrepreneurship and Project Management & Budgeting. Each group studies for 1 hour per day with Project Leader Salifou Camara online in WhatsApp "classrooms" (chat groups). Every Friday, beneficiaries meet on Zoom in their 3 groups for one hour each to review course content with the instructors. MindLeaps provides smart phones and wifi data packs so that the students can participate virtually.  The students have been enthusiastic about learning the course material. In addition, bonds of friendship are being built. They are helping one another and commenting on each other’s work daily.  Since the groups are on WhatsApp, the students are able to reach out to each other at any time to post a question about the course material or something personal and find that they will quickly have a response - and a friend to talk to at any time. 

For women across the world, the pandemic worsened sexual violence, unwanted pregnancies and childhood marriage. At MindLeaps Guinea, we are running a sexual education program for the young women and girls at our center. The young women were taught in a four-week program by Madame Mariama and Madame Jenneh. The course covered contraception and how to prevent unwanted pregnancies, health sanitation practices, menstruation, a discussion on appropriate behavior from their peers, and how to avoid sexually transmitted diseases  The girls came away from the program with a better overall sense of what resources are available to them and how to care for themselves. This will be an ongoing program for the girls at our center. 

2020 has been a challenging year for all. MindLeaps continued to serve our students with food relief and learning opportunities, furthering our mission and continuing our connection with these wonderful youth.

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Food distribution to MindLeaps Guinea families
Food distribution to MindLeaps Guinea families

MindLeaps is continuing its mission to provide education and support to vulnerable youth in Guinea, helping them move forward despite the added challenges of Covid-19.

Homework Distribution
MindLeaps works with kids who have had to drop out of school due to poverty or conflict. Following completion of the MindLeaps program, MindLeaps sponsors these students to attend formal education. Due to Covid-19, schools have been shutdown and the children's educations have been interrupted yet again. To help these students continue their studies and stay on the path towards graduation, MindLeaps has initiated a system of homework distribution. Our teachers create lesson plans in primary and secondary school levels, hand deliver them to each student's household, and pick up and review the previous week's assignments.

MindLeaps Virtual Academy
MindLeaps has launched a Virtual Academy to continue the education and skill development of our trainers and students during the pandemic. 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. In August, MindLeaps Guinea began the module on Child Development taught by creative arts therapist and researcher Dr. Janelle Junkin.

Family Strengthening and Business Support
The families of those at MindLeaps are already facing extreme poverty and food insecurity. The shutdowns and economic fallout from the pandemic has caused many work activities – which were the source of survival for poor families – to stop suddenly, which has greatly worsened the poverty these families are facing. Since March, MindLeaps has been providing distributions of food and sanitation supplies to 130 local families in Conakry. MindLeaps staff delivers the food to each family ensuring that all families are cared for and safe. In addition, MindLeaps has begun a new microgrant program towards family strengthening in Guinea: we are funding 20 mothers of MindLeaps students to start new businesses with the aim of improving these families' economic recovery from Covid-19. 

Health & Safety of our Girls
MindLeaps Guinea has launched a Sexual and Reproductive Health Program, following the success of the SRH program implemented at MindLeaps Rwanda in 2018. In Guinea, after an intial meeting with their parents on the class, we have enrolled 29 of our girls ages 13 and older in this new program. Two female staff members are running the classes, teaching sex education, reproductive health, as well as distributing sanitary napkins to the girls, who would otherwise not be able to afford them.

We are so grateful for your support in providing our children and their families with the food and resources, healthy habits, and education that enables them to keep reaching for their dreams. 

Homework distribution
Homework distribution
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Organization Information

MindLeaps

Location: New York - USA
Website:
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Twitter: @MindLeaps
Project Leader:
Rebecca Davis
New York, New York United States
$16,163 raised of $25,000 goal
 
153 donations
$8,837 to go
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