Aim High is Pakistan’s 1st National Girls’ Mentoring Initiative. It aims to support and raise the aspirations of young girls in schools and colleges who are in need of motivation and guidance. By sharing the struggles, successes and experiences of substantial female role model figures who have struggled their way up in fields such as sports, science, technology, politics and education.
Girls in Pakistan face multifaceted challenges in terms of education, irrespective of their socioeconomic backgrounds. It is not only cultural difficulties and religious barriers, or even the non-availability of educational institutes that stand in their way of success. It is an overarching lack of inspiration, propelled by a disbelief in the further education system and the working environment as well as a general lack of awareness of carrier possibilities and opportunities. The situation that emerges is not only one in which a staggering number of young girls i.e 13.7 million have never stepped into schools, but the prospects for even those that are currently enrolled remain bleak.
We aim to build a platform where young girls can directly interact with role model figures at many different levels. Roadshows are organized in selected government schools and colleges, where mentors are given the opportunity to share their stories with young students. These are followed by round table discussions with girls, categorized around various careers / sectors so that the girls may be grouped according to their individual interests.
Participants are also given the opportunity to apply for our mentoring program. Applications received are reviewed by a panel, and those selected are registered with our program for up to 6 months. The mentees engage in group sessions as well as in one to one interactions with their role models and are given support and advice in terms of careers. The mentors volunteer for one to one meetings and are available to respond to emails.
The importance of this program for the mentors themselves must also not be undermined. It gives accomplished young women a platform to share their stories, and to reflect on the challenges they have successfully overcome. Recognizing their efforts provides them with a sense of achievement. This can go a long way and will inspire and encourage them to continue providing support and inspiration to young people, particularly girls around them.
Small get togethers for mentors and mentees are periodically arranged to record their experiences of the program and evaluate how it impacted their career goals. The program is reviewed iteratively and refined according to the participants’ feedback.
For more information about our Aim High Mentoring Initiative, please visit our website: http://aimhigh.org.pk