Wedu Fund is a leadership development program for young, underprivileged women who come from some of the least developed countries in Asia and demonstrate strong leadership potential. Wedu helps to finance their higher education through scholarships or loans and provides them with one-on-one, lifelong mentorship.
The mentorship aspect of the program provides critical, and often lacking, support to help students navigate through their university education and achieve individual goals. Wedu matches selected women, or “rising stars”, with mentors based on overlapping interests, individual values and principles, and time availability. Mentors may be located anywhere in the world and are responsible for “meeting” with their respective rising stars twice per month online, usually via Skype. The first meeting of each month is dedicated to personal development and incorporates goal-setting exercises, developing a plan to achieve short-term goals, and discussing long-term goals. The second meeting of the month centers on leadership development using an original curriculum created by Wedu. The mentor receives conversation guidelines and sample topics include identity, empathy, religious pluralism, and human rights and democracy.
Mentors apply to become part of the Wedu network; so far, word of mouth has proved the most successful method to generate interest. While not all rising stars currently have mentors, the program is looking to partner with organizations and develop a more sustainable supply of mentors in the future by recruiting alumni, or its returning rising stars.
Wedu supports women to attend local or foreign universities. Still in the program’s early stages, Wedu is currently developing a more sustainable financial model than supplying scholarships. Wedu distributed its first student loan in September 2013 and hopes to provide more loans on an income-sharing agreement.
Find more detail on the Center for Education Innovations.