10 Apr Starting a Conversation: the Wedu Mentorship Program
Last week the Wedu team presented to the members of NEEDeed. NEEDeed is a non-profit organization that connects qualified volunteer professionals (typically from the expatriate community) with local non-profit organizations that require expertise in a certain field (to learn more about NEEDeed visit their website: www.needeed.org). NEEDeed does this by hosting regular workshops and presentations to inform people within the community of the opportunities around them and in what capacity they can help and that is why Wedu was asked to participate!
This was a great opportunity for NEEDeed and Wedu to collaborate as our values and goals of taking part in social impact align. Daisy, who leads the mentorship initiatives at Wedu, discussed the importance of mentorship and the impact it can have on a young woman. We were lucky to have Lin with us, one of our amazing Rising Stars, who spoke about her experience as a mentee in Wedu’s mentorship program. She expressed her gratitude for her mentor, Xian, and the vital role she has played in helping her make steps towards achieving her goals. Lin was moved to tears when explaining this and it was evident that Xian has become an important person in Lin’s life.
“Do I have what it takes to be a mentor?” was the prominent question that arose. Wedu wanted to address this, and that led to an activity where participants discussed their skills, areas they could work on and how they could be a resource and mentor someone. NEEDeed attendees shared their answers and came to a general consensus that everyone has a particular skill set they can offer in the role of mentor.
Josephine Dessmann, Project Facilitator at NEEDeed, attended the Wedu Walk Celebrating International Women’s Day last month as a mentor and also shared her experiences as a mentor with the group and said the following:
During the Wedu mentorship workshop discussions I was impressed and overwhelmed with how powerful gender roles are in our societies. These gender stereotypes can dictate what is expected for both men and women, and in particular limit women’s options in life.
It was then I realised what I could offer as a mentor – a different perspective on gender roles. Gender roles are constructs of our society and they are reinforced by those around us. By our families, friends, neighbours, strangers. Having access to regular dialogue with a mentor, with someone who can support these young women as they encounter and challenge established stereotypes and expectations is vital.
The overwhelming messages I took from the mentorship walk was how empowered and supported mentees feel in the Wedu mentorship programme and also how anyone has the capacity to be a mentor to offer a fresh perspective.
It was a great day to bring more awareness to the importance of mentorship. Initially talking to some of the attendees we found that they did not think they were capable of providing mentorship but after having further discussions, they realized they really were and very likely so are you! If you are interested in learning more and applying to be a mentor visit: About us.