By: Vivian Lee, Wedu
Wedu was a winner of the Women Deliver Social Enterprise Challenge held at the Women Deliver conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in May 2013.
One year after the Women Deliver 2013 conference, Wedu has grown from 15 to 50 Rising Stars thanks to the momentum of a growing network of inspiring young leaders, mentors and community partners. Originally from Cambodia, Myanmar and Nepal, talented and passionate young women are now coming to Wedu from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, North Korea and Sri Lanka for mentoring and financial support for higher education.
Wedu has been able to expand its reach to new countries through the support of local Talent Spotters who help identify high-potential young women in these rural communities.
Through Women Deliver’s Social Enterprise Challenge last year, Wedu has been able to establish a productive relationship with TrustLaw, who provides us with critical legal support, as well as initiate a groundbreaking relationship with the Clinton Global Initiative (CGI), where we are going to commit to take Wedu to the next level in scale, breadth and quality of services.
Wedu has also made big strides in developing its leadership curriculum and monitoring systems to ensure that Rising Stars and mentors are continuously learning and developing in critical leadership skills. The benefits that Rising Stars are experiencing can be supported by the fact that they have become our biggest advocates – holding workshops in their communities and universities and encouraging their peers to apply, and going above and beyond to help with Wedu events and new initiatives.
A more recent learning is that among the professionals out there who would make wonderful mentors, many of them do not connect their skills to an ability to mentor and coach, carry the confidence to do so or simply understand what mentoring entails. Wedu has begun conducting workshops to help encourage and build confidence in potential mentors, as well as build upon the materials that we provide to guide mentors through the process. We are particularly excited about how this approach is engaging corporations interested in the leadership development of their employees through mentorship of Wedu’s Rising Stars. At the end of the day, mentoring is about developing a relationship with and being available to a Rising Star – someone to listen, encourage, empathize and guide an inspiring female leader to reach her full potential.
If you are or know of an individual who would like to learn more or apply to be a mentor, please visit our website. If you are part of an organization or company who would like to learn more about how mentoring with Wedu can supplement existing leadership training, people development and/or corporate social responsibility programs, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
On behalf of the whole Wedu community, staff, mentors and Rising Stars, I want to thank Women Deliver for the incredible opportunity given to us with this award. I warmly encourage you to keep supporting new initiatives, creative social entrepreneurs and innovators, because it helps increase the social impact we can all have together.