From November 21 through December 2, 2008, WMF Board of Directors Jordyn Wells and Katherine Cheng traveled to and around Senegal, Mali, and Ghana to visit recent and former scholarship students.
First stop…Dakar, Senegal.
(In Katherine’s words…)
We kicked off the Senegal leg of our trip with a lovely group dinner that included the 16 Senegalese scholarship recipients and Simon, the endlessly energetic and personable Director of the YMCA – West Africa region and our main contact. It was a pleasure to see all of the students come together and become friends. More than a scholarship service, WMF hopes to foster a real community, and this dinner was a good start. To learn more about this year’s Senegalese scholarship students, click here.
When the students are not in class or enjoying huge group dinners with WMF representatives, they oftentimes spend their time studying and volunteering at the YMCA.
Jordyn and I spent two full days meeting with each of the scholarship students and were pleased to learn that many of them attribute their commitment to service to their own experiences as children. Some of the current students benefited from peer-mentoring and wanted to return the favor. They come to the YMCA to connect and collaborate with like-minded youth, as well as to socialize and have fun.
Jean Francois Toure, a scholarship recipient and long-time friend of WMF, served as our translator and culture-quick-book.
With his help, we were able to get to know the scholarship students more deeply and ask questions like, “If you were President, what is one change that you would make?” These kinds of questions served the dual purpose of fleshing out the students as individuals and bolstering our local knowledge of what concerns, problems, and hopes occupy our scholarship recipients’ lives. By better understanding them and the worlds from which they come, we can more effectively support their growth.
Welcome to the Wells Mountain Foundation blog. When the heads (and hearts) behind WMF decided that there needed to be a way for all members of the WMF community to connect, this blog was born. Periodically, we’ll post stories, updates, and information about the people that WMF touches – students, donors, families and friends around the world. Enjoy!