A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.
– Oprah Winfrey
Mentorship is a central part of our mission of bringing hope to people in developing communities. Everyone needs the wisdom and influence of kind, thoughtful mentors who have overcome challenges similar to the ones experienced by the mentee. We believe in the hope that comes from mentorship—in seeing the light, hope, and potential innately within those we serve and doing all we can to help them realize their potential.
Working with local community leaders to strengthen communities, empower women and youth, and care for the most vulnerable children, we prioritize building relationships that allow us to learn from and with each other while supporting individuals in their journeys to self-reliance.
MENTORSHIP AT MOTHERS WITHOUT BORDERS
Our local staff who run our programs in Africa meet regularly with community leaders and partner organizations to support their work, train them on gender issues, and continue to build friendships and alliances that allow for greater collaboration throughout communities. Our Africa Regional Programs Director, Josephine Mulenga Daka, takes the lessons of one-on-one, individualized mentoring and applies them to entire organizations and communities—sharing Mothers Without Borders’ 20+ years of experience, best practices, and proven strategies.
In 2022, Josephine began mentoring a small organization in Nairobi, Kenya called the Hope Care Center. We have been able to bring our decades of experience and expertise to their operations and programming. After Josephine traveled to Kenya in December of 2022 to visit the center, a Hope Care Center staff member reflected,
“Josephine is a ray of sunshine. She blessed us with her wisdom and skills on setting up a more functional system to work with and trained us on strategic planning for the year 2023. We gained more than what we had anticipated and her visit was nothing short of a blessing.”
In addition to working with communities to support and bolster their efforts, we run a number of programs to fill the gaps these communities can’t presently address. Within our own programs, we have focused on pairing the individuals we serve with empowering individuals who can support and encourage them on their individual journeys. Currently, 81 women are being mentored in business, sewing, and financial literacy workshops and over 500 young women and men are assigned mentors who they meet with monthly.
Mentorship always begins and ends with love. Josephine Mulenga Daka, our Africa Regional Programs Director, states,
“We stick with these kids for the long haul, and they have relationships strong enough that they will come ask for our help even after they’ve graduated. They believe in themselves and have real hope that they can have the future job they want.”
The youth in our programs are intentionally paired with mentors who have overcome similar challenges, can help them to develop a plan for their education and future, and empower them to develop self-confidence and self-awareness as they reach their goals. This can include helping them with homework, life skills training such as time management and budgeting, and encouraging them to participate in extracurricular activities. One girl in our Be That Girl program recently shared her experience with her mentor:
“My experience with Mentor Vera is something I wouldn’t trade for anything. I have been empowered and encouraged in personal development. Mentor Vera is someone who sees more ability in me and guides me on how I can reach my full potential. She has always shown me love.“
Individuals in our programs see and feel the immense value of mentorship and naturally mentor one another as well. The girls encourage each other to get to meetings, provide each other with encouragement and support, and help each other with their school work. One young woman in the Be That Girl program said,
“You know, you might be thinking like you’re the only person who is going through that. As we encourage each other, I know that there’s someone else out there going through my situation.”
So far in 2023…
women mentored in business and skills training clubs
individual youth empowerment mentor visits
small group youth mentoring sessions
MENTORSHIP: LOVING, LONG-TERM SUPPORT
The true power of mentorship comes from long-term relationships rooted in love. Read the story of one young woman whose life has changed because of her relationship with her mentor. (Note: names and pictures have been changed to protect the privacy and confidentiality of those we serve.)
When Gift joined the Be That Girl program, she was paired with Charity as her mentor. Charity recently retired from more than 30 years of working as a top level nurse in Zambia. She is a powerful example of dedication, grace, and perseverance. Charity is a self-motivated nurse, Midwifery Specialist, and HIV Specialist who holds a Diploma in Nursing, Advanced Diploma in Registered Midwifery, Bachelors in Health Care Administration, and certificate in Nutrition.
These sorts of resumes are very rare in a country where only 8% of women have a 12th grade education. By having these inspiring women as mentors, we hope to inspire new generations of children and youth to transform their lives and communities and to give back in the same ways as these leaders.
Charity was selected as Gift’s mentor because they come from similar backgrounds and had similar educational and career goals. Charity said, “I first met Gift in 2020, and when she narrated her story, I was very touched and desired that she gets educational support.”
Gift was pursuing a diploma in Clinical Medicine when she had to drop out of college due to financial constraints. She continued working with her mentor, Charity, to find a way to continue pursuing her dreams. Charity’s strong educational and vocational background in health care helped Gift as she navigated the challenges of seeing her college friends complete their medical studies and graduate as she worked odd jobs to help with finances. With the help of the Be That Girl program and Charity’s mentorship, Gift was able to re-enroll in school and she completed her Diploma in Clinical Medicine in 2022.
“I am so grateful to Mentor Charity for the support, direction, and guidance she offered me through all of my mentorship journey. Mentor Charity has been a guide and mirror for me. I hope to continue learning from her. God bless her for me.”
“Mentoring Gift has been a great experience. I love the bond we have. We have built a friendship. She is a hard working, honest, and determined mentee who defeated all odds and completed her studies.”
Gift’s experience is one of hundreds highlighting the joy, confidence, and friendship that shapes the lives of those we serve by providing real-world, relatable examples of driven, self-motivated leaders who were once in similar circumstances as their mentees. As these youth and children grow up, they will become the next generation of leaders and mentors, contributing to their communities and offering solutions to the pressing problems of now.