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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

Your support is helping to make this an exciting period of growth for MindLeaps in Guinea. At the beginning of the New Year 2019, over 75 children were enrolled at our center in Conakry, well surpassing our projected goal of 50 students. As word spreads throughout the community, more and more children are attracted to the dance classes in our safe, welcoming space.

Our 2019 action plan has been launched to expand the dance program to six days a week to accommodate the increased number of students. The hours of English instruction at the center have been augmented as well. Additionally, the MindLeaps meal program continues to be an important support for children’s health. Free nutritious meals including porridge, spaghetti, and rice dishes are served daily to all the youth participating in classes at the center. For many, this can be the main meal of their day.

In December, the Conakry center hosted a visit from members of the MindLeaps international team, including Eugene Dushime, International Coordinator from Rwanda, and Rebecca Davis, Founder and Executive Director. Among planning and budget sessions, the international team and Conakry staff made time to visit the various public schools where thirteen students – MindLeaps’ first group in Guinea to be sponsored for school – have been studying since October 2018. They also visited the vocational training center where four girls are enrolled in the dressmaking program. The team observed classes at each school and met with students. It was rewarding to see how well these young people had adapted to the academic environment and how they were thriving.

As always, professional development of MindLeaps’ teaching staff is an ongoing priority. While at the Conakry center, the international team worked with dance instructors to help them hone their skills in the use of Tracker, MindLeaps’ software system designed to gather data from children’s dance moves and chart changes in cognitive skills and social-emotional learning.

The end of the year also saw the departure of Anna Defent, visiting international MindLeaps trainer who had spent November and December at the center in Conakry instructing local trainers in the MindLeaps contemporary curriculum. Anna is a graduate of The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, currently living in London and working as a professional contemporary dancer. She studied the MindLeaps methodology in New York City and was asked to join the team in Guinea as a guest trainer. Anna describes her experience as “an absolute honor – to teach the children, and see their smiles and their progress each day. Guinea is such an inspiring country, full of dance, rhythm and heart. My time with MindLeaps has reminded me how important dance is and why I have chosen it as my career.”

At MindLeaps we are committed to the importance of dance, and have seen how it can, and will continue to, open up the future for vulnerable youth in Guinea.

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It’s a dream come true for the kids who joined the MindLeaps program last year. After a year of preparation at the MindLeaps Center, 18 students are back on a path to what they want most – the education and training that can assure their futures. The activities at the Center – dance, English and French literacy courses – had built their confidence and skills, and given them hope for change in their lives.

In October, that change was made real when eleven students entered primary school, one entered secondary school, five began vocational training in dressmaking, and one was given a work opportunity to earn for herself. 

Through your generosity and support, MindLeaps was able to make their dream a reality by paying all their school tuition and providing the supplies needed to get off to a good start. Each child was equipped with a school bag, pens, notebooks, a pencil case, notebook covers, a pencil sharpener and a ruler. As the girls prepare for school, you can see the eagerness in their smiles! 

Success in school also depends on a solid foundation and continuing support, so MindLeaps takes a holistic approach in working with the children and their families. Before the beginning of the term in October, MindLeaps organized sessions with the children and their parents to better prepare them for this new chapter in their lives. MindLeaps discussed with the parents the important role they play in ensuring their children's success.  Parents were counseled about the importance of taking care of their children’s hygiene and health, and making sure that they attend school every day. 

In preparation for the re-entry of these students into formal schooling, MindLeaps staff also met with school supervisors at l’Ecole Emauss, where several of the children would be taking up their studies. School administrators were sensitized to the ongoing vulnerability and needs of these children, and made aware of the particular situation of each child, to better ensure their success in the school environment.

MindLeaps continues to expand its own capacity to serve the young people who come to the Center. To better carry out our work, we have found a new, larger facility, which after renovation, can serve both to house our youth programs and as a venue to run our Train the Trainer program, instructing new teachers in our methodology. The new facility is located in Matam, the most densely populated of the five districts making up the city of Conakry. MindLeaps is in the process of negotiating details for securing the space to take advantage of this opportunity.

Excited to return to school!
Excited to return to school!
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Thank you to Foundation We Help for your donation!
Thank you to Foundation We Help for your donation!

Classes are continuing at the MindLeaps Center in Conakry despite periods of unrest and political turmoil in the city. MindLeaps Guinea continues to provide a safe space for our students to learn dance and English, eat meals, and get to play together in a safe environment.

Oftentimes, the meals served at our Center are the only meals that our students eat during the day. During our initial intake interviews, some of our students reported that before coming to MindLeaps a "meal" they would eat might consist of just one piece of candy. As part of our Meal Program, MindLeaps students in Conakry receive a nutritious meal every day they come to our Center. In July, we were fortunate to receive a donation from a new partner to add to the variety and nutrition of the Meal Program. 

Foundation We Help is a humanitarian organization that supports the most needy with the goal of reducing social inequalities. Last month, Foundation We Help donated a variety of food items - including rice, filtered water, spaghetti, and butter - towards MindLeaps' meal program, as well as some children's clothing. The donation and distribution was recently covered in local press. The article is available online here: http://224infos.org/publireportage/7030/humanitaire-la-fondation-we-help-fait-un-don-au-centre-de-reinsertion-de-nongo.html

Later this month, MindLeaps Guinea teachers Salifou and Morlaye will be completing their training in Kigali, Rwanda. When they return in late August, they will be bringing back with them three months of training in MindLeaps' curricula, contemporary and hip-hop dance technique, as well as recommended pedagogical methods, so that they can better serve our youth in Conakry.

Thank you as always for your support in helping bring education, food, and joy into these kids' lives.

Morlaye and Salifou training in Rwanda
Morlaye and Salifou training in Rwanda

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Just completed their dance performance!
Just completed their dance performance!

March and April were very exciting months at our program in Conakry, Guinea.

In March, the students had their first public performance for the community since joining MindLeaps in July 2017. L'Ecole Americaine in Conakry invited MindLeaps to perform for their school and for community members. MindLeaps Guinea's Country Director, Ansoumane Conde, made remarks to the audience before the students proudly took the stage, where they danced several choreography pieces as well as acrobatics.

For these students, performing is more than just a showcase of what they have learned in dance. It is an opportunity for the students to push themselves forward in their self-confidence, and practice for future professional opportunities where they will have to demonstrate their knowledge and capabilities. You can see a video compilation from the performance through the link below.

In April, MindLeaps Guinea received a donation of 50 Sanitation Kits from the local chapter of Leo Club Dame de Loura of Lions Club International of Guinea. The Lions Club is the world's largest service club organization with 46,000 clubs and 1.4 million members.  Lions Clubs serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, and encourage international understanding. This donation gave each student their own sanitation kit, which includes a towel, flip flops, toothbrush, jogging pants, water bottle, nail clippers, shower gel, as well as sanitary napkins for the female students. You can see photos from the distribution day below.

It is amazing to see how far the students have come - thanks to your support.

If you would like to learn more about each of our students, their backgrounds and challenges, their hobbies and favorite dance moves, you can read more about them online here: http://mindleapssponsorships.weebly.com/

Thank you for transforming the lives of these wonderful children!

Remarks from Ansou before students take the stage
Remarks from Ansou before students take the stage
Donation of sanitation kits from The Lions Club
Donation of sanitation kits from The Lions Club
Thank you Lions Club!
Thank you Lions Club!

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MindLeaps Guinea Center in Conakry
MindLeaps Guinea Center in Conakry

2018 began with exciting changes and opportunities for MindLeaps Guinea. There are eight local Guinean staff members working at the MindLeaps Center in Conakry, running the children's programs and operations of the center.

We are excited to welcome our Assistant Director of MindLeaps Guinea, Martin Mamadouno. Martin was born in Boké, Guinea, where he completed his primary and college education. He obtained a Bachelor's Degree in Mathematics at Kipé School in 2010. In 2013, he graduated with a degree in Mathematics from Gamal Nasser University of Conakry. In 2014, he completed a two-month internship at the National Institute of Statistics and another three-month internship at the National Agency for Agricultural and Food Statistics. Before joining MindLeaps as Assistant Director, he worked with Direct Dialog Media & Marketing services. He previously volunteered with the NGO Hope of Guinea and collaborated with MindLeaps on its Guinea Edugrade and Ruben’s Shoes partnership projects. Welcome Martin!

Two of our leading dance instructors from our program in Guinea have flown to Kampala, Uganda, to build out MindLeaps' expansion in East Africa. MindLeaps is working with local Uganda NGO Rockies Organization through our “Train the Trainers” program. Salifou Camara and Ibrahima Camara of MindLeaps Guinea, along with International Coordinator Eugene Dushime and International Teacher Ssali Eugene, are training the top youth in the Rockies Organization to become teachers of MindLeaps’ dance curriculum. These teachers will be placed in local Uganda NGOs Save Street Children Uganda and Refuge & Hope to teach our curriculum to their vulnerable youth beneficiaries.

Our program in Conakry is currently serving 50 youth in our ongoing curriculum of dance classes and English classes, along with the daily meal program. In addition to providing these services, the MindLeaps Centers – both in Rwanda and Guinea – serve as safe spaces for our students. Currently, there is a spike in street violence in Conakry.  Our youth, and the local community, find the MindLeaps Center to be a place of refuge during this time of political turmoil.

Thank you again for your gift towards our program in Guinea. Your support is helping these students grow their skills in a safe space and enabling MindLeaps to serve more youth across the continent.

Martin with students during the meal program
Martin with students during the meal program
Guinea teachers Salifou and Ibrahima in Uganda
Guinea teachers Salifou and Ibrahima in Uganda
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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
$18,293 raised of $25,000 goal
 
169 donations
$6,707 to go
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