“Your experiences give you something you can share with someone else and make an impact on that person’s life.”
“It’s actually very easy to make an impact on peoples’ lives. We live in a bubble of privilege where we can reach out to like-minded people when we need guidance. We have a history of dignity, morality, respect, and mentoring from our parents or peers, but when that bubble is not there there’s a whole new perspective that needs to be considered.”
The Da Vinci Institute prepares people to enter the workplace and provides skills that will enable people to take advantage of the skills required to enter the formal business sector. This is completely different from assisting with business plans or strategies.
Coming from a privileged, educated background, one forgets that there are so many people who just don’t have that initial drive to pursue success and failure means the end of the road. I’ve seen a different side of South Africa. You need a level of patience and determination. Even committing to meetings is not regarded as a commitment, and one needs to try and establish ground rules that both mentor and mentee adhere to. Scheduling meetings, following through, and ensuring that we are in an environment where dialogue and discussion can happen is already a victory rather than chatting whilst strolling through a mall with no commitment to the mentoring process.
“It is about building someone up to understand the meaning of commitment and following through on those commitments. Instilling a level of personal responsibility and professionalism and talking to someone from a completely different background opens ones’ eyes to the diversification in South Africa.”
These people need support to trust their own self-worth and step up and ask questions when in doubt. If they don’t get this before they enter the work world, they won’t last long in the formal sector.
One of the key things we have focused on is planning and time management. So, planning his assignment according to deadlines and working with a plan, breaking things down into bite-size pieces allows more structure than to do everything in a haphazard way. Everyone understands that life happens so when you can’t make a meeting or you’re unsure of what’s required in an assignment, communicate and let people know that you can’t make the meeting or that you’re unsure. If there is a reason for not handing in an assignment or doing really badly in a test, communicating with the lecturer or teacher enables a level of understanding which could allow a rewrite and give a second chance so that this slip does not become the end of the road.
I like to think of South Africans as people with a giving nature.
“Being part of someone’s upliftment is a real kick and NMM allows you to do this on a very personal basis. It’s an opportunity for you to get to know someone who you would never have known unless you were part of a mentoring programme.“
The NMM onboarding is easy and matching works well. You could just donate money but the value of your time and you’re sharing a journey with someone else allows both mentor and mentee to grow and share perspectives.