Apply to Join

Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth

by MindLeaps
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Post-Ebola Guinea: Educate & Empower The Youth
Emmanuel
Emmanuel

An international group of dance teachers convened at MindLeaps Guinea's center in Conakry to participate in MindLeaps' Train The Trainer.  The dancers came from Burundi, USA, Canada, Italy, and the UK. The group learned MindLeaps dance curricula and pedagogical methods and practiced teaching MindLeaps classes. They were instructed by the local Guinean teachers and staff, as well as Executive Director Rebecca Davis and Lead Trainer Caitlyn Casson.

One of the dancers attending this training was the winner of the annual MindLeaps Scholarship.  Emmanuel fled from Burundi to Rwanda as a refugee and lives in Mahama Refugee Camp in Eastern Rwanda.  Mahama Refugee Camp is home to more than 58,500 Burundian refugees who have fled because of election-related violence.

When MindLeaps launched programs in six Rwanda refugee camps in partnership with UNHCR, Emmanuel was selected to join the MindLeaps training program.  He quickly rose to the top of his cohort for his dance and leadership abilities. Now, he is currently the lead trainer of the Mahama program and a positive role model for Mahama youth.  

As the MindLeaps scholarship winner, he was able to join the international group of dancers in Guinea where he improved his knowledge of MindLeaps curriculum and methodology. He has since returned to Mahama to share his newly acquired skills with his peers and community.  

MindLeaps Guinea students enjoyed having an international group of teachers lead them in classes. The dancers also visited some of the students' homes, where they saw their difficult living situations, and heard their challenging stories. Following the training, Deanna, a dancer from Canada, remarked, “I have been teaching dance for 16 years, and this training is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done. You get to work with students dealing with some of the most difficult life situations, yet they come to class some of the happiest, hard-working people you will ever meet. It has been a humbling experience.”

Deanna at MindLeaps International Training
Deanna at MindLeaps International Training

Links:

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

In October, the Inaugural Annual MindLeaps Scholarship was awarded to one refugee MindLeaps Trainer! This year's receipient is Emmanuel, lead refugee trainer in the Mahama camp in Rwanda. This scholarship will allow Emmanuel to travel to Guinea on his school break in December to be a part of the International Train The Trainer’s program. He will also receive training from Guinean MindLeaps Trainers.

While in Guinea, he will enhance his ability to communicate and teach the MindLeaps curriculum and methodology. Emmanuel will then return to his camp to share his newly acquired knowledge with his peers and community. This will help them develop the necessary skills to gain opportunity for an improved life. Congratulations, Emmanuel! We are so proud of your hard work, and we can't wait to have you at the MindLeaps Center in Guinea!!

Emmanuel's story

Emmanuel was born in Burundi. He and his family fled as refugees, and they have been living in the Mahama Refugee Camp in Rwanda since 2015. Currently he is a student at Paysannat L Secondary School in Mahama where he studies Literature (English), Kiswahili, and French. In 2018, Emmanuel was selected to join the MindLeaps training program where he quickly rose to the top of his cohort for his natural technical dance ability and his exemplary character. Now, he is currently the lead trainer of the Mahama program - not to mention a positive role model for Mahama youth. Emmanuel is passionate about ballet and contemporary dance, and he has the natural physical qualities for a classical dancer, like flexibility, excellent feet, and the ability to be emotive when dancing.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

This past month, MindLeaps Executive Director Rebecca Davis visited MindLeaps Guinea, where MindLeaps has been present since 2011. In 2017, MindLeaps opened its own center in the capital city of Conakry, using its tailored, codified dance program to attract children who had previously lived on the streets or had escaped prostitution. This is crucial considering that 46% of Guinean primary school age children are out of school, and 49% of youth ages 15-24 have no formal education. Additionally, 51% of girls are married by the age of 18, and 21% by the age of 15. 

Rebecca Davis visited MindLeaps Center in Nongo, Conakry as well as the homes of several MindLeaps students. For many Guinean students in the program, MindLeaps provides much needed stability and security. Indeed, about half of MindLeaps families live in abandoned buildings and are frequently forced to move when the building becomes legally occupied. Many children sleep on the floor with little to no bedding and often, no dinner. 

Three such students, siblings Assiatou, Omar, and Abdallaye, lived in a decaying house near the Conakry MindLeaps center. During the rainy season, the roof leaked, leading to sickness within the family and forcing them to leave. Their only option was to stay with relatives outside of the city, meaning that unfortunately, the children could no longer participate in MindLeaps dance classes.  However, MindLeaps was able to provide school sponsorship for all three of the children, and today they are living in better conditions and will all be heading to school in the fall!

Despite these challenging home situations, the MindLeaps Guinea program is thriving. The children arrive to the center enthusiastic to learn and improve their dancing skills. The US Embassy has recently provided expansions to our English program. Our Guinean trainers are some of the best: Salifou and Faby are both currently abroad for a month working on MindLeaps programs in Kenya and Mauritania respectively. We are excited to see what they achieve beyond Guinea and are happy that they are part of expanding MindLeaps' work across the continent. 

MindLeaps Guinea student's home
MindLeaps Guinea student's home
MindLeaps Guinea Dance Class
MindLeaps Guinea Dance Class
Our Dance Teachers Salifou, Faby, Alya, & Ibrahima
Our Dance Teachers Salifou, Faby, Alya, & Ibrahima
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

MindLeaps’ dance curriculum works to develop the cognitive and social emotional skills that will help vulnerable youth in Guinea get back on track with their schooling. In addition to dance classes, academic catch up courses are a key part of the MindLeaps program. Academic acceleration classes prepare students for entry into the formal education system or vocational training. English classes are an important part of the program at the MindLeaps center.

The opportunity to learn is changing the lives of children in Conakry, and MindLeaps has given many of them their first opportunity to learn English. 8-year-old Souleymane had never attended school. He stayed home to do chores, fetched water for the family, and then went out with his older sister to sell bananas on the street. Since joining MindLeaps, Souleymane has been learning English and dance. In fact, his mother is now telling him not to go out selling so he can attend his classes at the center instead.

Before starting classes at MindLeaps, young Sayon had also never attended school. She stayed at home doing housework all day and only went out to go to the local market. At MindLeaps she learned the alphabet, how to count in English and French, and she is now reading in English. Sayon says she loves this chance to learn. Dancing has given her confidence and she now has a community of friends at MindLeaps.

M’mahawa is 10 years old and had dropped out of school after 1st grade. She is happy at MindLeaps because she is able to dance, and now can read and write in English. She says that if MindLeaps weren’t there, she would be at home helping her mom and having a hard time trying to study on her own.

13-year-old Akime left school in the 3rd grade because his mother could no longer pay his school fees. At MindLeaps he has been able to start learning again – dance, drawing and English. Without MindLeaps, he says he would just be staying at home or playing in the streets.

The MindLeaps program in Guinea has been serving children 9 to 18 years old. Now for the first time, we are also reaching out to older youth from the community. In April, our center began offering a new program of free English courses aimed at youth age 18 to 30. Once word was out, there was an enthusiastic response from over 40 young people who signed up for the course. 32 students were enrolled, with another 10 interested youth on a waiting list. Courses were launched in May with two groups – a beginners’ group of 16 students, and a second group of 16 who already had some basic familiarity with English. Each group meets two evenings a week for two hours a session. The year-long course is run and administered by MindLeaps in collaboration with the US Embassy in Guinea.

There is a keen interest among youth to learn English. Fluency in English is seen as a major asset in today’s world, opening up opportunities to communicate on a wider scale and take full advantage of everything information technology has to offer. With your support we are able to create these new opportunities for vulnerable youth in Guinea. Education is enabling them to help move their families and community toward full recovery from the devastating after effects of the Ebola crisis.

New community English class
New community English class
Share on Twitter Share on Facebook

Thanks to your generosity, the MindLeaps program in Guinea is growing. 2019 began with over 75 children enrolled at our center in Conakry, well beyond our projection of 50 students. To meet the demands of expanded enrollment, we have increased the hours of our dance program, and of English classes as well.

The meal program at the MindLeaps center continues to be an important element in our kids’ development, making up in part for lack of proper nutrition at home. Nearly 90% of the children who come for dance classes have had nothing to eat that day. The noon meals provided at the center include porridge with milk, rice dishes, and spaghetti. For many kids, lunch at MindLeaps is their main source of nutrition for the day.

Hygiene is another important element in the well-being of the children who come to the center. Many of their home environments do not allow for the personal hygiene necessary for good health. At MindLeaps, there are facilities for them to wash properly. In addition, all new students are given a kit containing soap, a toothbrush and toothpaste, a towel, and basic dance clothes. The kit is of course essential for good hygiene, but is also a psychologically important boost for kids who feel they never have had anything personal of their own.

As the population of children we serve expands, your support is vitally important in allowing us to maintain tanks of water in sufficient supply, stock food items for meals, and purchase personal hygiene products.

Making a change in the lives of vulnerable youth in Guinea also means going beyond the child alone and reaching out to the family as well. As part of the MindLeaps holistic approach, we believe it is crucial to involve parents and other family members in the child’s experience. At the beginning of the year, MindLeaps staff held a meeting with parents of new students to explain the goals of the program and the importance of letting their kids come to classes on a regular basis. It was also a chance for parents to get to know staff and see the center for the first time. Staff discussed the importance of family support and encouragement, and emphasized the vital role parents play in assuring the success of their children.

The group meeting with parents was followed up by staff visits to individual homes so they could become familiar with the environment in which each child lives. Understanding a child’s family and home life better enables MindLeaps staff to make ongoing decisions in the best interests of each child, ensuring that individual needs are met. Personal attention to each child is another key to developing the skills and confidence that will carry them forward in their lives.

Share on Twitter Share on Facebook
 

About Project Reports

Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.

If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating.

Get Reports via Email

We'll only email you new reports and updates about this project.

Organization Information

MindLeaps

Location: New York - USA
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @MindLeaps
Project Leader:
Rebecca Davis
New York, New York United States

Funded Project!

Combined with other sources of funding, this project raised enough money to fund the outlined activities and is no longer accepting donations.
   

Still want to help?

Support another project run by MindLeaps that needs your help, such as:

Find a Project

Learn more about GlobalGiving

Teenage Science Students
Vetting +
Due Diligence

Snorkeler
Our
Impact

Woman Holding a Gift Card
Give
Gift Cards

Young Girl with a Bicycle
GlobalGiving
Guarantee

Sign up for the GlobalGiving Newsletter

WARNING: Javascript is currently disabled or is not available in your browser. GlobalGiving makes extensive use of Javascript and will not function properly with Javascript disabled. Please enable Javascript and refresh this page.