On return to Kigali after our first trip to SEVOTA, we visited the MindLeaps/Rwanda studio. MindLeaps is an organization founded and directed by Rebecca Davis, a recipient of the Gratitude Network Award. https://mindleaps.org/en/
The Gratitude Network seeks out the world’s most dynamic and innovative leaders and organizations impacting the lives of children and youth. Those that are selected as awardees receive a 1‐year program of intense coaching, mentoring and strategic advice to help them scale their business model to achieve results they only dreamed of. http://gratitude-network.org
We met Rebecca on our flight from Doha to Kigali – by chance she was heading to Rwanda at the same to we were. To hear directly from Rebecca, listen to her TEDxFulbright talk. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxdZPdiaSO4
The MindLeaps programs are incredible. MindLeaps is staffed in-country, and the focus is “preparing vulnerable children for education” – children who live on the streets and/or who are not enrolled in school. The MindLeaps Rwandan staff works with 65 children every day, ages 9-18, working to teach them dance and life-skills through dance. Each morning, the children start their day at the MindLeaps facility with porridge and a shower. When they are able to gather consistency, community and discipline, they work with tutors: IT, languages, health studies, social studies, science and math. The staff and tutors prepare them to enter boarding schools in the capital and around the country: to have the chance to continue their education; to enter adulthood with options.
We were there to see them warm-up and then they danced for us, and we for them. What a studio full of spirit and energy! There is a healthy amount of competition – I thought those kids were going to jump through the ceiling! I tried to capture this moment of one of the teachers giving each individual a “high 5” after crossing the floor with turns and leaps: these dancers are seen.
Rebecca is joining us in late March. She will engage with the students in the School for Classical & Contemporary Dance at TCU – sharing her experiences and her methodology – and with the greater TCU and Fort Worth communities sharing films made about the MindLeaps work as part of the KinoMonda (film) Series – March 28.