Somewhere in the rush of carrying gifts and baked treats from one holiday party to the next, deeper thoughts sneak in – thoughts about the year coming to a close and the year ahead, thankful thoughts, grateful thoughts, hopeful thoughts.
At Beautiful World, our hopes and goals are all for our students: helping them create better lives for themselves and their families. Here are our goals for the coming year:
- Evaluate our Grad Prep Program
It’s so exciting to see our students study, and thrive, and complete their programs. But what happens after graduation?. Last years we created a Grad Prep Program to help our graduates get work in their field. During the program our students could work on the skills necessary for getting jobs: learning how to interview and network, how to write and build resumes. The Grad Prep program also offers job information sessions, so students can learn more about companies and careers.
Now that the first groups of students in Uganda and Rwanda have been through the program, this year we’ll be evaluating it for its effectiveness and sustainability for our students: did they get the jobs they need? Did they learn the skills and meet the people they required? We’ll be working with our partners this year and in the years ahead to ensure that our students, who have worked so diligently to get through school, are able to find jobs that will help them, their families, and their communities thrive.
- Add at least 100 students to the Grad Prep Program.
Last year, 68 Ugandan and 12 Rwandan students participated in the first year of our Grad Prep Program. This year, not only will we be evaluating the program for greater effectiveness, but expanding it up to 150% to reach a total of 180-200 of our students who will be completing school and looking for jobs.
- Launch Girls Club in Uganda.
Being the first one in your family to go to high school or University can often be challenging—especially if that school is at a distance from your family’s home. We developed Girls Club in Sierra Leone as a place for our students to have fun and make friends, meet mentors, and learn important skills outside of the regular school curriculum.
On the last Saturday of every month, the girls gather for leadership training, sessions on general and reproductive health, tutoring, artisanal training, workshops in marketable skills, and career guidance. They might play games like netball or soccer, and always have a laugh and a good time in a safe environment. Our students meet other Beautiful World scholars who they can talk about their struggles and successes and dreams. Not only do they meet other students, but leaders and mentors who come from similar backgrounds, who can inspire and guide them through the challenges facing them. Girls Club is a place to make connections, have fun, and learn things that can’t be learned from a book. We’re excited to bring this program to our students in Uganda and look forward to seeing our students grow in confidence and strength from the relationships forged there.
- And fundraise $1,000,000.
Last year, we raised $500,000, which provided:
- 261 scholarships in three countries,
- 100 Ebola packages for students in Sierra Leone,
- 21 Ebola Orphan scholarships, and
- launched our Grad Prep program in Uganda and Rwanda.
In addition, nearly 30 of our student graduated from post-secondary programs.
This year, we hope to more than double the amount we fundraise, expanding our reach, increasing the number of students who are able to attend high school or post-secondary schools, increasing the number of students who can attend Girls Club, or Grad Prep. . Fundraising $1million increases the number of young women who will go back to their communities with an education, affect root change, and who will help those communities grow in strength and dignity.
Future Goals for Beautiful World Beautiful World has long-term visions for our organization, and our students. This is what we dream of:
- That within 1 year of graduating from the program, we can ensure 100% of our graduates are employed in a field related to their education.
Jobs for new graduates can often be scarce, and our graduates often face greater obstacles than many students just out of school. They’re often the first educated women in their families; they have few connections with the businesses or organizations where their skills can be best used. They need professional-looking clothing, training in interview skills, mentors who can guide them through the process of finding a job and succeeding in their workplaces. We will continue to evaluate and expand our Grad Prep programs until we can ensure that within a year of completing their training, all of our graduates are able to find work in their field.
- That 100% of our graduates are then enrolled in programs to give back to their communities
Our wish for our graduates is not only that they achieve education and employment, but that they use that education and employment to assist their communities. In many ways, this is not a difficult goal: employed women in Africa often invest 90% of their income into their own families, helping lift caregivers and younger siblings out of poverty, inspiring others along the way. Our students want to help their families and communities.
We want to develop programs in such a way that our graduates give more than money to their communities: we want them to enrol in mentorship programs for younger students, helping new students reach for and achieve their goals; or lead workshops in their communities, teaching others some of the many things they’ve learned in their studies and on the job. We want our presence in Uganda, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone to be a bright light not just for our students, but for whole communities.
- 10,000 students
By 2020, we want to have impacted 10,000 students in our programs. Beautiful World would like to support 9,000 students in the Grad Prep program and another 1,000 scholarship students in high school and post-secondary programs.
This what we’re hoping for and dreaming of this season. Would you like to join us?