Organizations like our partner, Wedu, provide young women with the support system they need to grow as leaders.
This post was written by Rija Shrestha, Women LEAD’s Communication Intern.
Mentoring is a core component of Women LEAD’s year-long development program. Through mentoring, we provide our program participants with a support system of adult role models and mentors in Nepal that will help them face the challenges of advocating for a gender-equal society. Because of our strong belief in the power of mentoring and the impact it can have for young women, we are proud to have partnered with Wedu for the last 3 years.
Wedu is a non-profit organization that works throughout Asia which, like Women LEAD, identifies and invests in young women who demonstrate strong leadership potential who will then go on to impact their own communities and countries. To do this, Wedu provides its “Rising Stars” with lifelong mentorship from a seasoned professional who can help them reach her goals.
Women LEAD has served as a Talent Spotter for Wedu in Nepal from very early on in our organization’s founding. As a Talent Spotter, Women LEAD recruits remarkable female students and encourages them to apply to become Rising Stars to receive professional mentoring and financial scholarships from Wedu. We then support these students throughout the application process, assist with the selection process as a panel interviewer, and provide logistical support for Wedu site visits and events for Kathmandu-based Rising Stars.
Recently, I sat down with three Rising Stars to learn more about their experience with Wedu: Reeti, a 2014 LEADer; Rajina, a 2010 LEADer, and Susmriti, a former program intern at Women LEAD. All the girls have different goals they wish to pursue later in their life. Reeti, for example, wants to use her writing as a way to dismantle gender biases in Nepal, while Rajina helped start the group Women Leaders in Technology, which looks at increasing the number of women in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) professions. Susmriti, on the other hand, is getting ready start graduate school in the fall.
Throughout our interview, they spoke about how Wedu’s Mentorship Program has prepared them to tackle their ambitions in life, from the beginning of their education and beyond.
For Reeti, joining Wedu was a way to excel in her post-secondary education. “I was attracted to Wedu’s mentorship program because I was in the stage where I would be transitioning from high school to university. I would be facing a lot of changes from teaching style to new subjects. So I needed a mentor for me to help me transition and reach my goals. I was finally able to take a big step towards reaching my goals and becoming a Rising Star was a perfect opportunity for me to grow as a person.”
Susmriti had her own reasons to become a Rising Star. “I was interested to become a part of the Wedu program because it is a community only for girls and when I found out that every girl would get a mentor, I was excited.”
By giving its Rising Stars a mentor for six months, Wedu believes it is giving them the guidance they need to succeed. “Mentorship is important because a mentor makes a person realize their abilities they never thought they have. A mentor does not create a path for you to follow but motivates you to create a path for yourself,” Reeti shared. Susmriti added to Reeti’s answer by saying, “I always loved the idea of mentorship. We were given mentors from different parts of the world who matched with our interests and studies. I think mentors help us to be globally active and broadens our creativity.”
Reeti said: “Wedu has provided me with a mentor who is an amazing leader herself and provides me with leadership lessons including empathy. This has helped me understand things from various different perspectives and is my nurturing leadership potential”.
Having a mentor who can share different perspectives with their mentees has great benefits as well. “People’s perspectives are always a whirl”, Rajina stated. “Because a mentor is usually someone who’s neither as inexperienced as our own friends, nor as non-updated as our parents are, I always thought mentors are the in-betweens! They are neither dismissive, nor blindly supportive.”
Women LEAD wishes all the Rising Stars the very best and continues to support them in achieving their ambitions.
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