Investing in a Future for Asia’s Young Women

This article was originally published on the New York times website on September 1, 2013. For the full article please click
MariSINGAPORE — Mari Sawai and Mario Ferro, who graduated in 2009 from the Masters in Development program of the London School of Economics, founded Wedu last year, a program to help women in Southeast Asia gain access to higher education through microfinancing, mentorship and counseling.
Their aim, they say, is to apply private sector investment practices to a nonprofit organization. In the 18 months since Wedu — an acronym derived from Women’s Education — conducted its first workshop, the organization has raised about $130,000, providing backing for just five students, but it plans to expand fast and to be working with as many as 1,500 students by 2017. The organization, which is registered in Britain but based in Bangkok, aims its outreach efforts at top high schools in developing Southeast Asia — that is, countries other than Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei, which are generally classified as developed. The target schools tend to have students with sufficient academic ability to go to university.

[caption id="attachment_893" align="alignleft" width="140"] Katie[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1317" align="alignleft" width="140"] Naruedee[/caption] [caption id="attachment_1466" align="alignleft" width="140"] Noor[/caption]                 On Saturday 3 August 2013, the Wedu team is coming to the Law Faculty at Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok,...

Editor's Note: Thida is the author of Wedu’s first mentorship program blog. She is a student in Health Economics, mentored by Tricia who lives in the USA and is a consultant with the Clinton Foundation. Thida learned about Wedu's scholarships and mentorship program when she met Co-Founder, Mario at a Myanmar student meeting in Cha Am, Thailand. Read Thida's blog below on her experiences thus far as a mentee in Wedu's mentorship program. Thida on Mentorship   How has mentorship inspired me? This mentorship drew my attention in Cha Am beach town in November 2012. I was selected to attend a Myanmar scholarship students’ meeting in Cha Am. During our meetings, a man introduced this program after exhibiting with pamphlets and marketing about his organization’s visions and missions. His promotion attracted my interest and I was curiously to learn about the idea of mentorship program. I pondered about how does it work and how can be bridged between this program and my Mon Community in Mon State.   My burning desire to apply to