Educate!'s first team of Mentors complete the Induction

On February 13, Educate!’s first team of highly-qualified Ugandan Mentors completed the Induction.  The Induction is a three-month, full-time preparation which equips the Mentors to lead Scholars through Educate!’s trendsetting leadership program, the Educate! Experience. Educate!’s stellar staff in Uganda, Angelica Towne and Emily Lutyens, designed and coordinated the Induction at Educate!’s office in Uganda. Much was learned and a strong team was built.  Now the Educate! Mentors are ready to lead 375 Educate! Scholars through the two year Experience beginning Monday, March 2.

Below is a post from the first team of Mentors about the Induction, their belief in Educate!’s mission, and a recent trip to Kyangwali Refugee Settlement, where Educate! began:

2009 Mentors

For Agnes, Barbara, Connie, Enock, Esther, James, Juliet, Sandra and Solomon, the first team of Educate! Mentors, the six hour long journey from Kampala to Kyangwali was strenuous. Although the two hours driveEducate!’s mentors on this road was bumpy, we had the beautiful scenery of the landscape for comfort! Kyangwali gets you in touch with Educate!’s roots.

Our very first visit as Mentors was a great insight into why Eric was moved into founding Educate!. The Kyangwali experience is a rude awakening to the stark realities of life as well. It is a boiling pot of hope amidst hopelessness, scarcity amidst plenty, adaptation amidst restrictions, positivity amidst suffering, togetherness amidst bickering, achievement where one expects resignation and so much more. These images will forever push us to strive and create transformation in Africa.

We went to Kyangwali to experience life from the perspective of a refugee, build bridges, empower and leave a message of hope. From morning to noon we perspired under the sun, tilling away at the COBURWAS orphanage garden to the surprising amazement of the community. We harvested sugarcane and coco yams, pushed 300kgs of maize on a bicycle, cooked food on makeshift fire places and stockpiled firewood. From noon onwards we had our first experience at mentoring the members of the COBURWAS club. We facilitated a great career workshop, disseminated information about leadership plus social entrepreneurship and cultivated intra-club mentoring. At 4:00pm, with hunger biting away at our tummies, we shared a sumptuous late lunch with the community, played games and held one on one mentoring sessions. In addition, this was a great moment for the mentors to reminisce about their roots. Solomon, an islander, fished in a small pond. The digging and direct contact with soil was a nostalgic reminder of our own village background. The hospitality, warmth, care and love from our hosts exceeded our expectations. We left Kyangwali having done so much yet feeling we had done so little. We left with the conviction that Kyangwali needed us back there and that Kyangwali needs you, who is out there.

Mentor Induction - Human Knot

We all have been through the youth stage. It is at this stage that we discover ourselves, find or lose direction, transform into adults and focus on the future. There is an old local saying that goes “Obutasoma buluma bukulu.” This translates into “The pain of not having an education is felt when you are an adult.” However, it is now deeper than that. Now it is the pain of not having a relevant education. Educate!’s mentors in a human knot, just one of the many exercises they did during the mentor inductionIt is the pain of not receiving proper guidance. Many people are not what they could have been. Why? Just because the education they received did not empower them fully. They did not make a discovery into what they are – this makes Educate! such a necessity. We partner with and complement Uganda’s education system to mould the future generation – the current youth.

We at Educate! believe that the youth are socially responsible leaders and entrepreneurs. What they need is mentoring. The mentor trains, guides, supports, and works with the individual to realize his/her potential, achieve his/her goals and become a person that will transform society. Educate! presently partners with 25 diverse schools. We create an experience in which we give students skills and confidence to become responsible leaders and better society.

Since mid November, we as a team of nine mentors have had an intense Induction period. We are a team of diverse backgrounds and professions with one outlook to life. We all care for the core Educate! values and principles. We hold dear the experience of responsible leadership, social entrepreneurship and mentoring. The Induction has been an eye opener. It has opened the gates to new concepts, knowledge and methods. It has challenged our assumptions and outlook to life. We have enjoyed the practicality of training that has cemented our leadership, entrepreneurial and social skills. We have learnt a lot from just living with each other – starting as total strangers and finishing a strong family unit. We now identify opportunities for change in situations where problems exist. Our mentality is now transformed from the ‘me’ syndrome to ‘us’, from thinking about my family to our community. To say that the Induction has been great is an understatement. It has been GREAT. Emily and Angelica are an awesome team. They’ve done a wonderful job with us. We are now an army ready to go out there, mentor and empower the next generation of socially responsible leaders in Africa. Join us and support us as we educate and empower the next generation of socially responsible leaders.