09 Jul Why Mentorship Matters
Saggiah Wright is the Partnership Development Coordinator for Lahash, and oversees the Stand With Students program. He knows the potential of higher education to dramatically expand opportunities for young people in East Africa and help to break the cycle of poverty. Because of the many needs and obstacles in these scholars’ lives, mentorship makes a big difference in promoting their academic, spiritual, and personal growth!
To mentor means to guide, to support, and to train someone – especially a less experienced young person – with an aim of helping him/her grow and mature in different aspects of life. In the context of Stand With Students, it means walking alongside the most vulnerable teenagers in the society, being a good example to them, providing familial love, pointing them to Jesus, and coaching them along in all the essential areas of life as they transition into adulthood and into higher education programs.
Academic mentoring for teenage scholars is widely recognized as one of the most important factors in determining student success. It enhances their self awareness, responsibility, determination, focus, and vision for their studies and future careers. Mentorship based in Christianity goes even a notch higher by incorporating spiritual orientation and instruction for the mentees.
While teenage mentorship is a common phenomena for many students around the globe, it is almost nonexistent for teenage students around East Africa, especially those who come from low income families and study in remote village schools and colleges. Lack of timely and appropriate guidance on personal awareness, basic life skills, career options, and the value of education may lead students into making poor life choices, performing poorly at school, and exhibiting irresponsible living. Consequently this results in broken lives where potential is not realized.
This year, Lahash has been able to add eleven new mentees into the Stand with Students program, and expand the program into two new partner locations! Students at the new locations have already begun their mentorship program which will run throughout the year.
Our mentorship curriculum is grounded on three major pillars: 1) spiritual formation and character development, 2) vocational and academic guidance, and 3) personal development. The curriculum is designed to help students believe in themselves, cultivate Godly character, and prepare to explore their potential through study and service to humanity.
Through support from Lahash, the mentees in Tanzania have been studying English and computer courses. We regard English and computer skills as critical skills that give our students an edge when they finally transition to advanced secondary school and later to universities and colleges. These skills help our students to express themselves better, write great reports, carry out research online, and be familiar with basic computer applications. Additionally these skills may spark interests in our students for future careers in language and computer fields.
When I traveled with the Lahash team in 2021, we visited each partner ministry location in Tanzania. I was privileged to meet up and have some good conversations with some of the mentees who are newly enrolled in our higher education program. Each of these students have unique stories to tell and yet all their stories are filled with hope and great dreams for their future. It is even more encouraging to note that they are getting started into a rigorous mentorship program that will help refine and reshape their hopes and dreams in so many beautiful ways. Looking at them I certainly see future doctors, lawyers, teachers, church leaders, and business people who will be well positioned to support themselves, their families, and their communities in general.
The work that Lahash does in supporting higher education programs around East Africa is quite exceptional, outstanding, and deeply impacting. I personally feel so humbled and honored to be part of the team that serves these promising scholars under Stand With Students in East Africa.
To join with Lahash in helping to educate children to their highest ability and give them a solid foundation in academics and in life, visit lahash.org/standwithstudents