To conclude, we are sharing some stories on mentoring;
Amaka and Sheera: Passionate about mentoring
Amaka and Sheera live in Benin City in Nigeria. They realised that there were many girls in their neighbourhood, who had graduated from secondary schools and who, while waiting to get into higher institutions of learning (universities and polytechnics) for career training, had a lot of time on their hands. These two youth workers realised they had a common interest in mentoring young women for character building and skills development. They decided to start a mentoring programme for these girls. The mentoring programme consisted of study skills and character building. The girls in this programme also had a chance to learn other skills like cooking, baking and business.
They enrolled a few volunteers to help with the mentoring programme as the girls were many. After a few weeks of training on mentoring skills, they were ready to begin the mentoring sessions. Amaka and Sheera coordinated the programme; they talked with the girls and their parents and recruited and trained the mentors on the premises of a school compound owned by one of the mentors in their neighbourhood during weekends. Most of the girls who enrolled in the programme had never heard of mentoring before; Sheera and Amake had several sessions with them to explain what it was all about.
The girls were enthusiastic and looking forward to meeting their mentors. They learnt self-awareness and how to build self-confidence. Many of them wrote down their future dreams with the help of their mentors. They also learnt the art of goal setting and began the journey of personal and professional development. Sheera and Amaka were moved to see the impact of mentoring in the lives of these girls. They were confident and eager to learn from their mentors. Most of the girls wanted to continue with the mentoring even after joining college or university.
Sheera and Amake realised how their passion for mentoring had led to the transformation of the lives of many women in Benin. Not only the girls who enrolled in the programme benefited but also the mentors who volunteered. The mentors were able to give back to their community, which was a source of joy and fulfilment.
Thandiwe’s story: Having a mentor changed my life
Thandiwe is the first born in her family. Her parents did not have permanent jobs, and as a result, they always had financial difficulties. While in her last year in high school Thandiwe came into contact with youth workers in a cultural centre for women’s development. They shared their passion for helping girls achieve their dreams through mentoring. Thandiwe had a dream to further her education, but her financial difficulties were obvious.
Through the help of her mentor, Thandiwe realised that she had a passion for the hospitality industry. This, however, was just a dream because she had no hope of her parents managing to raise the school fees. After talking to her mentor about this she was advised to apply for a scholarship in a nearby college. Thandiwe was overjoyed when she was among the few girls selected to join the school under the scholarship programme. Her mentor also gave her ideas of how she could raise some money for her upkeep while in school.
Thandiwe has graduated and is now working. Her parents are very grateful to Thandiwe’s mentor who has journeyed with her and for her constant encouragement and support. Thandiwe is the breadwinner in their home now and has been able to pay for her siblings’ education. She is also a mentor in the cultural centre and often tells her story of how her life changed through the relationship with her mentor; who helped her dream and have hope in life! Many girls who listen to her story are filled with hope and are inspired to achieve their dreams.
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