Above Saffiatu and her mentor Doreen
The mentoring project is a progression from both the Marimbo Women and the Young People's Projects in that we seek to help both groups, while both groups continue to meet and remain active in their own right.
The Marimbo Women's Group have and continue to voluntarily support the Ivor Leigh Memorial School in many ways since its inception. They help with food days and school events. Unil 2019 we ran a micro finance project. We had success stories where women were able to pay back their loans and the loan was then given to another woman in the group. Unfortunately, due to Ebola, mud slides and Covid their numbers have sigificantly depleted.
During the Ebola crisis, many of the young people of Kaningo did a fantastic job working as a team to deliver healthcare advice and practical Ebola prevention measures to the community. Once the crisis was over, their feedback was that they very much enjoyed being involved and wanted more opportunities to make an active and positive contribution to their community.
We have been holding debates and running activities to sensitise the youth so that they are able to make more positive contributions to their community.
We recognise that the young people need more and that is how the mentoring project came about. We've been mentoring one young person, Saffiatu who is an alumi of the Ivor Leigh Memorial School. She returned to Freetown after work dried up in Oman, where she was working as a maid. Saffiatu's dream is to become a lawyer. She was working hard hawking peanuts as well as selling t-shirts and chocolates to fellow students. We were able to invest in her penut business and as a result she has been able to pay to start university.
Our hope is to be able to mentor many more young people so that they can, start a business, engage in further education or start an appreticeship. It costs £20 a month to provide this service. We would like the young people to pay this forward by becoming a mentor to someone else once they've acheived their goals.
Our model in the UK is very different. We give pro-bono support to prospective entrepreneurs so that they can trial their business idea. We then help them get started before passing them on to a business mentor to grow their new business. We have been working with Tina, who wanted to set up a pop up restaurant with a view to having a permanent restaurant in the future. We helped her to do a pop-up which went very well, but made Tina realise this wasn't the route she wanted to take. She would rather have a permanent market stall and cater for private events. Tina will be ready to start trading in the new year. She will be set to get her mentor early next year to start working towards her restaurant. We will then be looking to take on a new prospective entrepreneur.