Latest news

Sandra & Siphiwe accepted to workshop their entrepreneurial ideas

Congrats to Sandra & Siphiwe for their acceptance to Ryerson University’s DMZ BaseCamp Lite Program! 🎉

This online entrepreneurship workshop links high potential students with Canada’s leading tech entrepreneurs. Siphiwe will be continuing her research and development of her cyclonic telescope and Sandra will be focusing on business models that address Nkomazi’s largest issues.

Learn more about the program:

Mlondi’s poetry published on global platform

Grade 12 Scholar, Mlondi has long since been one of our strongest poets. Thanks to our friends at Right for Education Africa for sharing Mlondi’s incredible poem “Where I’m From” 👏.

R:Ed is a diverse media platform dedicated to delivering authentically African content to its almost 7 million person readership. We couldn’t be more proud to see Mlondi’s poetry getting international exposure!

Black Lives Matter

“Imagine Scholar seeks to build an ethos among our small community of students. Among these values we promote is that of ‘developing the courage to do the right thing’. In light of recent events surrounding police brutality against black people, the imperative of fostering courage has been brought to our attention yet again.

As an organization, Imagine Scholar has designed a particular approach to bringing difficult topics and subjects into the limelight of our curriculum and culture. Routinely, in response to issues around the world, our students engage in what we have come to call Courageous Conversations.

With the need ever so present to speak to young black youth about the insidious reality of racial injustice, Imagine Scholar held a weeklong online forum about systemic injustice. After consolidating thoughts from an array of sources, Scholars had a chance to learn and unlearn many things about racism, slavery, red-lining, and most importantly activism. After our discussions, it was readily apparent that there still remains an unmet call for action and students want to answer it. Here is what you can expect to see from Imagine Scholar in the near future:

  • Poetry, stories, and other creative artwork shared on our social media pages that address issues of inequity and injustice
  • Our clubs engaging in activism, for example, the doctors club exploring the injustices of our healthcare system
  • Camps and workshops in our community that help society celebrate black identity and build empowering mindsets
  • The development of accessible safety procedures that enable local people to report and resolve abuses of power

Although we feel and understand that these steps and ideas alone will not be enough in achieving equality and world peace, we are proud of the steps being made and welcome anyone curious to join and enhance the initiatives mentioned above.”

– Thenjiwe Ndimande, Imagine Scholar alumna & acting Associate Director

Think Tank, O.M.M.M Lab, and the Learning Zone

Imagine Scholar’s progressive curriculum is built around 3 key courses: Think Tank, O.M.M.M Lab, and the Learning Zone. Hear more about how our creative classroom encourages deep learning from one of our students, Yale Young Global Scholar alumni and African Leadership Academy student, Samkelisiwe. 

George Bernard Shaw once said, “Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.” At the end of last year we started planning for how we could change the structure of our classes for the new year in order to be more productive in our work. Moreover, these changes allow for a flow between the material learned in what we call the Think Tank, O.M.M.M Lab and Learning Zone.

Think Tank

Think Tank classes are meant to help students develop confidence in their ideas, acquire leadership skills and understand how thinking occurs. From grade 9-11, each grade has a different essential question, which our student body forms as a group to explore for the rest of the year. These essential questions are meant to serve as a guide for students’ growth. When asked about the aim of think tank, Megan (Imagine Scholar facilitator) responded,

“Think tank allows students to find a sense of belonging while also teaching them how to lead by generating ideas and asking questions.”

O.M.M.M. Lab

O.M.M.M. Lab, which stands for Open Minded Meaning Makers, takes the ideas learned in Think Tank and dives deeper using different mediums. In these sessions, students are empowered to take their ideas from abstract to concrete, with the goal of making an impact.

“O.M.M.M. Lab gives students a voice to share their ideas and be able to take charge of the sessions instead of facilitators being the ones who run the classes.”

Says Megan O’Neil, the facilitator for the Communications class that formed the bedrock of O.M.M.M. Lab. The lab helps foster verbal leadership skills and builds students’ confidence in their ability to communicate with their peers or even in front of strangers.

Learning Zone

The Learning Zone has gone through many iterations as the Scholars’ learning styles have evolved. The main focus of Learning zone is to for students to learn how to learn, and more importantly to be independent in their learning.

During the week the students focus on Mathematics and Life Sciences with John, a resident academics facilitator, and on the weekends they work on Physical Sciences. In these sessions, the students do braindumps, whereby they write down what they learned during the previous class as a process of retrieval. Then they learn about strategies on how to learn. The last part of class is spent asking questions on a topic that they did not understand and/or working one-on-one with John for extra assistance.

Learning zone uses traditional school curriculum as a pace-setter so that students do not fall behind with their work. Students are also encouraged to gather in small pods to discuss any struggles or goals that they are working towards achieving with their peers. Overall, Learning zone provides academic support according to each individual student’s needs.

Author: Samkelisiwe Chissano

Imagine Scholar Intern, Andrew is a UNITE 2030 Finalist

International Development Intern, Andrew Senese participated in UNITE 2030, a global, virtual social innovation hackathon.

72 people, 57 countries, and some of the world’s most pressing issues – that was the formula for UNITE 2030. The event, a 48-hour virtual “hackathon” centered around the United Nations’ 17 Sustainable Development Goals, brought young world-changers from around the globe together with the purpose of creating innovative solutions to a number of high-priority problems outlined in the 2030 Agenda. The participants, who were separated into 17 different teams, were presented with an issue and allotted two days to collaboratively develop a business or product that would serve as a successful remedy. To assist their efforts, short workshops were held throughout the event, designed to reinforce key skills and concepts relevant to the project at hand. Towards the close of the event, finalists were selected and given an opportunity to pitch their ideas, with the winning team receiving an invitation to put their plan into action during the year-long, virtually-facilitated Youth Delegate Programme.

Comprised of representatives from India, Russia, Gambia, and the United States (well, technically South Africa), our four-person team spent the two days addressing the globally-relevant topic of child undernourishment, primarily during the first 1,000 days of life. Inadequate access to proper nutrition during this time span can produce life-long health consequences and drastically inhibit a child’s cognitive development. In other words, children who are subject to malnutrition that early in life are stripped of the possibility of living up to their full potential. Seeing as 50% of the world’s undernourished children are located in India, our team decided to focus our efforts in Eastern Uttar Pradesh, one of India’s most severely impoverished areas.

To summarize our business plan, which was developed in full over the 48 hours, our organization – 1,000 Days of Life – provided a multi-faceted solution to this epidemic by confronting the primary contributing factors. For example, women in India are often deprived of any social or economic empowerment, which makes it difficult for them to obtain the knowledge and resources necessary for sustaining a healthy lifestyle for themselves and their children. Thus, in order to truly resolve the issue of child undernourishment in India, we knew we had to address the many culturally-specific factors that influence it.

Andrew’s proposed social enterprise to combat youth malnutrition made it to the final pitch round in UNITE 2030

In essence, our solution was to empower the women of Uttar Pradesh by equipping them with the information, land, and tools they need to form farming cooperatives through which they could first-handedly grow the food products they and their children require to flourish. These vitamin-rich products, be it produce, nuts, or grains, would then be packaged into “Baby Boxes” and “Mother Boxes” and distributed monthly amongst the women involved in the cooperative, while those not involved would be able to purchase them at an affordable price. Furthermore, the contents of the boxes would change according to the child’s age in order to best accommodate the developmental process. To increase the capabilities of our social enterprise, we also decided to allow individuals from across the globe to “sponsor” the production of a baby/mother box via a small monthly contribution. This additional source of revenue would permit us to regularly expand production, facilities, and resources, while also helping to keep the cost of the boxes low.

Our business idea landed us in the final round, where we ended up rounding out the top 5 teams. However, I think I speak for everyone when I say that I left feeling like a winner. Though the two days were a bit (extremely) chaotic, I was amazed with what my team and I were able to accomplish. In just 48 hours, we went from a blank page to a full-blown business plan, from being familiar with a topic to knowing its every facet, from total strangers to a tightknit group of friends, and from leaders in our communities to leaders in a global fight for change and justice.

Author: International Development Intern, Andrew Senese

International Development Intern, Andrew Attends the Youth Assembly at the United Nations

International Development Intern, Andrew Senese represents Imagine Scholar at the prestigious Friendship Ambassadors Foundation 2018 Winter Youth Assembly held at the iconic United Nations General Assembly hall.

Author: Andrew Senese (2017-2018 International Development Intern)

“When I began my internship with Imagine Scholar, I was beyond excited to help such an amazing organization continue on their pathway to success. However, my relationship with I.S. proved almost immediately to be symbiotic, granting me opportunities like this to continue developing on a personal and professional level. Now, together, Imagine Scholar and I will continue to change the world one day at a time.”

If we’re being honest, I never would’ve imagined myself sitting in a conference room at the UN Headquarters, surrounded by 1,000 of the most inspirational young leaders from across the globe. That is until I found myself in that exact position during the 2018 Winter Youth Assembly.

This 3-day event focused on the themes of innovation and collaboration provided meaningful insight into some of the world’s most pressing issues. What’s more, it equipped attendees with an array of information and resources vital to combating these issues. The workshops, led by members of some of the most reputable organizations in the non-profit field were characterized by interactivity and thought-provoking discussion.

The all-inclusive nature of the assembly was encouraging and fostered generative, empathetic discourse amongst delegates. The facilitators were extremely knowledgeable and open-minded, inviting everyone to speak their minds and share their energy, creativity, and ingenuity. Gathered around the United Nation’s 17 SDG’s and 2030 Agenda, those in attendance were there for one reason – to change the world, and to change it now – and being a part of that gave me an unparalleled feeling of inspiration. I feel inspired to better myself, to advocate for a healthier, more sustainable world, and to keep pushing in the direction of change.