The WEP Center
The WEP Center is a lively, safe place within the NGO partner. After the college day, young women, who all receive scholarships to area colleges, come to the Center to meet friends, study and participate in I Am a Leader activities, a rigorous curriculum of career guidance, exploration and readiness. At these Centers, young women find their voice, discover career ambitions, expand their understandings and ignite their inner spark. Students attend a WEP Center throughout their college years – typically spending three years.
WEP Center Activities
I Am a Leader Activities
Visit to Gandi Museum
Meeting bees at an apiary
I Am a Leader
A vision-expanding curriculum exploring life’s opportunities and ideas. Weekends and holidays, students direct this eight-chapter, certificate curriculum of speakers, workshops, field trips, internships, training programs, courses and activities expanding awareness of: leadership, health, nutrition, personal finance, civics, communication, entrepreneurialism, technology, and the environment.
Students explore opportunities. They:
- Visit banks, hospitals, farms, NGOs, courthouses, businesses and other possible places of employment.
- Interview doctors, judges, entrepreneurs, and other professionals.
- Volunteer in NGOs, elderly homes, orphanages, and schools.
- Participate in discussion and debates.
“My favorite part of I am a leader is the life skills workshops to help our students make informed decisions, communicate effectively and [become self-reliant]. Students have a huge potential. I Am a Leader also imparts soft skills relating to emotional and social intelligence to cope in a competitive world.”
“I Am A Leader journals teach life skills, taught neither at college nor home. These journals fill the important gaps in their understanding of the world around them. The self confidence, skills, and self-worth they develop at WEP – one cannot put a price tag on it.”
“In our first year in Madurai, we noticed girls crying to friends about their mother’s illness, a loan shark’s visit, or their own marriage pressure. We began I Am a Leader for young women to understand and gain their voice by visiting their community, meeting women leaders, volunteering and discovering career options.”
Students develop skills. They:
- Take computer, English language and other courses to prepare themselves for careers. These are held in the Center, in the community, or online.
- Enroll in a relevant internship, training program and online courses.
Through I Am a Leader, WEP students become confident, informed leaders in their homes, communities, and, most importantly, of their own lives. They are positioned to enter fulfilling careers of their own interest and to play their part in an increasingly global world.
Our Students & Alumnae
WEP students are young women, high school graduates, in critical need of financial, academic and social support. Due to poverty’s overwhelming pressures, they lack confidence, study skills, and the ability to express themselves. They are unaware of their potential – and their opportunities. In spite of these deficits, they have the ambition and grit to graduate from college and enter a career.
WEP students are:
- ages 17-28
- living under the poverty line
- from semi-urban and urban communities
- 10th grade graduates
- whose parents are mostly illiterate or semi-literate, daily-wage workers
WEP Alumnae visit the Madurai Center
Like all poor women in South Asia living on less than $1.90 a day, the background and life of a WEP student is hard. And the reality is that, even after moving up and obtaining relatively well-paid employment, her hold on happiness and security may, for a variety of reasons – frequently domestic – be precarious.
At the same time, WEP alumnae are deeply inspiring and a rich source of knowledge and advice. Their return visits to the WEP Centers are, for both students and staff, informative and highly motivating.
For these reasons, the doors to Alumnae are always open. A student’s association with WEP is life-long as well as life-changing.
In addition to the Alumnae newsletter, alumnae receive:
- Scholarships to internships, training programs and online courses
- Referrals to employment and career counseling
- An alumnae communication platform
- An invitation to be an I Am a Leader trainer
- Ongoing support, as needed
Consortium & Our Partners
The WEP model – partnering with established and well-run NGO’s, rather than creating new agencies from scratch, and providing a curriculum easily adapted to local circumstance and thus transferable to other countries and cultures, ensures that WEP’s mission, is accomplished cost-effectively while meeting the needs of diverse partners and the girls and women served.
These partnerships, now formalized in a WEP-led Consortium, have placed more than 800 women (of 1200 alumnae) in their first jobs as pharmacists, lab technicians, therapists, teachers, computer operators, corporate and legal assistants, and entrepreneurs.
In October 2017, WEP held a highly successful forum attended by 28 women and girl-focused NGOs working in South Asia to discuss sharing strategies, programs and resources. Following this forum, WEP developed a five-year plan (2018-2022) to expand its Consortium to fifteen NGOs throughout South Asia, each hosting a WEP Center and using the WEP platform to share ideas, information, action plans, successes, challenges, and resources.
The Consortium will magnify greatly the reach and impact of WEP’s program while enriching each of the partner’s operations and efficiencies.
- The WEP NGO PARTNERS. Grassroots NGOs that receive WEP program share strategies and programs with other NGO partners. They invite:
- LOCAL PARTNERS. Mentors, local businesses, schools, and organizations provide students advice, field trip destinations, internships, training and possible employment.
- STRATEGIC PARTNERS. National or international businesses, organizations and foundations, provide funding and resources to the Consortium as a whole.
WEP’s Consortium is based on five principles:
- Educated and trained women can achieve parity in the globalized workforce.
- Small, competently managed, grassroots NGOs most effectively meet the needs of poor girls, many wishing to enter college and career.
- WEP’s Center model and I Am a Leader curriculum adapts easily to girl-focused NGO’s seeking a higher education and career guidance program.
- Businesses, private, public and nonprofit, benefit from highly motivated, educated women employees.
- A WEP led Consortium sharing member strategies, programs and resources leverages their impact.
WEP Center Directors at the 2018 Consortium meeting