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.
Bashir Karenzi, Managing Director and MindLeaps teacher, was a gracious host and offered insight into the goals of the program with both logic and heart.
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.