Everything started thanks to Mario Ferro, CEO and co-founder of Wedu. As a graduate student he was travelling in South East Asia and began noticing the problem of gender inequality, connected not only with money but also with a lack of guidance from a role model.
Wedu provides different kinds of support to young women interested in bringing changes to
their communities – says Vivian Lee, COO of Wedu. We call them “Rising Stars” and on the one hand, we offer financial assistance for education, and on the other we connect them with mentors. Financial support is limited in time, while mentoring lasts as long as the Rising Star wants it.
Everybody can become a mentor, regardless of the field she/he works on, cultural background or origin. Mentorship is done online, which makes it possible for everybody to join.
Right now we have two ways of getting mentor: one is through word of mouth, that way everybody can join as volunteer. Another way is partnership, we propose mentorship as a way to develop the talents of company workers. In the past few years, we noticed that mentors also develop valuable skills: soft skills, being a leader, which you don’t get at school. We partner with local and global organizations to give a chance to their employees to be mentor and develop their own skills. That’s actually part of our revenue model. Mentors are expected to commit 3-6 hours per month for at least 8 months.
Wedu provides detailed guidance for mentors as well as individual support and supervision. It creates a lot of opportunities to learn, as Anna experienced herself mentoring one Rising Star from Nepal. It’s an amazing chance for exchanging ideas, developing your own social skills and helping young women to become changemakers.
We select our Rising Stars very carefully. They have to fill in an application form online, write an essay, and then we have 2 separate interviews. We want to get to know them better. What are their experiences, leadership potential and skills? What they do now and what they want to do in the future to have positive social impact within their community? What is their big vision? How do they imagine themselves in 10 years? We want to make sure they have real passion for making social change in their country, big or small. Some of them want to open education centers in their community, while others want to be prime minister. We offer both of these types of leadership (and every kind in between) the same support. Our aim is to unlock the leadership potential of women in Asia, enable them to be leaders of their own development and that of their communities.
More about Wedu: weduglobal.org