Dorovee is a fashion social enterprise that focuses on making unique eco-friendly quality fashion accessories such as bags, shoes, necklaces using local indigenous raw materials and recycling waste to craft fashion items while economically empowering deprived women through training them to craft the products as a way of income generation. Dorovee is currently working women from Malawi association of the Deaf to craft the fashion accessories. The designs of the fashion products are inspired by the Malawian story such as the Ngoni clutch and Maravi sandals.
The goal of the Dorovee mentorship program is to bring together willing and driven young women who have dreams and passion they want to pursue. The focus is on building entrepreneurial spirits through fashion and arts. Through the program mentees reflect on their vision and achieve their goals with the guidance and advice that is provided by their mentor Vanessa Nsona, Founder of Dorovee a Fashion Social Enterprise. She also links mentees with other skilled experts in fields that may be critical for their development.
She officially launched the mentorship program on 1st February 2017. I remember when I ventured out in my business some years ago I never really had anyone to guide me through. I would reach out to people I looked up to that inspired me but they hardly ever gave me the attention. I have always had a burning need to run a mentorship program through my experiences because I know they are so many other young women who want to reach their dreams but do not know how to or those already working on their projects but need extra encouragement and direction. I have given motivational talks at school and other workshops like at Jacaranda school for orphans, University of Polytechnic – Malawi, Zigwangwa secondary schools and in other African countries and one thing I have noticed is amount of people that approach me after the events that have been inspired by my story. They eagerly tell me about their work and I have always thought to myself yes I have told them my story, I may have inspired some people but what more can I do to ensure that even after we all leave the people who have been inspired still have momentum? What I have seen is reality quickly sinks back in when you realize that you do not have the money to start the business, family and friends do not support you or things are just not working out for you. In other words we quickly get consumed back to this thing called Life.
I am grateful that I am a YALI fellow (Mandela Washington fellow for young African leaders) because this has opened up so many opportunities. I too have mentors internationally and locally like Grace Mijiga , Rachel Sibande and David Tanki. I have also participated in mentorship programs under Strive Mwasiya program called Expretprep and another by the IREX with Mandela Washington fellows. This has a played a valuable role in helping me excel with my goals and initiatives. I want to be able to share my experiences, knowledge, skills and resources that I have to others that may be seeking them this is why this mentorship program is so important to me.
The Dorovee mentorship program has started with a small group young women who I have been working closing with since we are only just piloting the project. This is helping me learn what works, what doesn’t and will help me to shape the program in the upcoming years. We are actually looking for volunteers who are interested in joining the team and others who feel may play a valuable role in partnering with us. I was recently nominated by the US Embassy in Malawi to participate in YALI Connect Camp in South Africa which was focused on Mentoring. The purpose is to invest in the next generation of African leaders through training in facilitative leadership, mentoring, networking and professional development opportunities for social change. The YALI connect camp program is designed and facilitated by the Ohio University in consultation with The Collaboratory in the bureau of educational and cultural affairs, US. Department of state. Dorovee Mentorship program was selected and I had to choose one of girls that I have been mentoring to travel with me for this week long connect camp experience which took place in Pretoria, South Africa last week. I travelled with one of my mentees her name is Patience Musiwa. She is a phenomenal, passionate young woman who founded Fount for Nations an NGO which focuses on uplifting children with disabilities by equipping teachers with skills and tools to better engage with students to achieve learning outcomes and running arts projects for sustainably.
The connect camp has helped to strengthen the Dorovee mentorship program because I have learned so many new techniques to make it become more effective. I am excited that I will implement the things that I learned. I was also able to connect and build a stronger mentoring relationship with Patience Musiwa and I got to learn so much more about her. We both were able to network, learn and share from other Mentors and mentees from other African countries who also participated in the program from Tanzania, Namibia, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Central Republic of Africa etc.
Patience and I also made a presentation sharing about our country Malawi and the different work we are doing in our communities. Apart from this the connect camp also focused on our individual initiatives and helped us to develop models that may work for our different projects upon returning back at home. A mentorship relationship is not just about the mentor giving knowledge but I also learn so much from my mentees. My expectation from the mentees is for them to achieve all that they want out of life, to be the role models that they are and to mentor others as well.
We plan to mentor a new group of Mentees from September and for those interested in applying, volunteering and partnering can reach out to us on email: firstname.lastname@example.org alternatively via our Dorovee social media platforms.
Source: Dorovee Dorovee Mentorship Program