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RUKA! Inspires Youth in Nairobi to Shape Their Destiny

RUKA! Inspires Youth in Nairobi to Shape Their Destiny

Did you know that in Swahili “ruka” means JUMP? Titus Kuria, the founder of Paamoja Initiative and a J! Facilitator,  worked with us at the “RUKA!” Leadership Conference, shared his reflections with us: I am yet to recover from such an extremely inspiring, empowering, and engaging RUKA! Youth Leadership Conference 2016. I remember vividly the words of our keynote speaker, Roshan Paul, who stated, “What is your mindset? It’s the difference between the present and the future; the difference between a leader and a follower. How do you want to see your world?” That powerful statement set the tone for the 2-day conference which followed a series of powerful pre-conference workshops that took us to 6 Nairobi slums – Kariobangi, Githurai, Dagoretti, Kibera, Mukuru and Mathare. The final decision on viable proposals ended with “Community Bridge” as the overall winner. While Community Bridge is a great idea with a lot of potential to help young people access seed funding for new projects and connect them with mentors, the project that came in second really touched my heart and is a project that I would like to see come to fruition: “Positive Ghetto” “Positive Ghetto” aims to help the authorities and the communities stop fighting. The authority-community war has seen many young men succumb to trigger-happy police who are never brought to justice because the judicial process is tedious and expensive. This is a challenge that affects almost all underserved communities in Nairobi. These young men—full of talent and potential—are shot down simply because they are accused of snatching, pick-pocketing, or other minor offenses. This project seeks to create a platform where the authorities and the people can have meaningful dialogue that can decrease police harassment as well as change the negative attitude of young people towards the service. The other reason that this concept really resonated is the fact that on the eve of RUKA!, 9 young men were gunned down in different parts of Mathare. The fallen brothers were 18 to 25 years old, the same age bracket we were targeting for the conference. They did not deserve to die that young. Some of the friends of the deceased who attended the conference were stressed out and shocked by the reality of never seeing their friends again. Oddly enough, I was both concerned and optimistic. My optimism came from 60 young people from different underserved areas of Nairobi discussing my concern: how they can tackle this issue and other challenges that continue to ravage our communities, The beauty of the conference is that even though Positive Ghetto did not receive the conference grant, one of the judges was as inspired by the proposal as I was and decided to help the team make their project a reality. So now we wait for both Community Bridge and Positive Ghetto to come alive. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all who volunteered their time in different capacities to make this experience a success. Sincere gratitude to The JUMP! Foundation and Business for Better Society for believing in our vision and supporting it whole-heartedly. Lastly, is to thank my organizing committee: Silvia Muturi, Nashon Luvohwa, Jesse Jacktone, Agatha Macharia & Jonathan Wasonga for helping to bring this dream into...

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RUKA! is helping Nairobi slum youth out-jump poverty

RUKA! is helping Nairobi slum youth out-jump poverty

Written by Titus Kuria, Founder of Paamoja Initiative I recently bumped into a thought-provoking quote by US First Lady Michelle Obama. She said, “When you’ve worked hard, and done well, and walked through that doorway of opportunity, you do not slam it shut behind you. You reach back and you give other folks the same chances that helped you succeed.” This quote made me reflect on growing up in Mathare Slums; my struggles; my triumphs; and my hopes. I realised the much I have achieved in my life was because an opportunity was created for me by someone else. However, it doesn’t mean that things just happened. No! I had to grab the chances and somehow make them work. In late 2012 I had an opportunity to work with JUMP! Foundation; a non-profit social enterprise that uses experiential education to advance a world in which individuals, community leaders, and global citizens realize their passions and potential. A close friend recommended me when JUMP! was planning to do a series of events with International School of Kenya and they did not have a focal point. Everything happened so fast – familiarising with the engaging program one day to running inspiring sessions the following day – but I tried my best to catch up and enjoy the ride. Over the years I have gone on to facilitate to and inspire young people both in Africa and United Arab Emirates courtesy of JUMP! My organization, PaaMoja Initiative, has also greatly benefited from this partnership. I have learnt a lot on how to keep my team motivated. The people whom I have met through the expansive J! network have inspired me to be a better global citizen. Another chance smiled on me early last year when I was selected to join the prestigious Amani Institute in Nairobi. I enrolled in the intensive course on Social Innovation Management that took me to 3 distinct parts of the country and saw me sharing a class for 5 months with talented leaders from more than 10 parts of the world. It was as if the world was brought to my doorstep literally. The program was anchored on the Amani Social Innovation Framework (ASIF). ASIF has 8 components to it; burning, sensing, questioning, associating, idea generation, experimenting, idea networking and impacting. While I have experimented with bits and pieces of the framework unwittingly in my line of work before, I realised that I was struggling with one aspect – impacting. Even though through my work – with Canada-Mathare Education Trust, PaaMoja and other initiatives – I have helped transform a number of young people’s lives in the last decade or so, I realised that there was still more to do; youth from slums, albeit decently educated, are vastly unemployed. They are still sitting in their ‘bases’ (hang out spots) all day discussing what other people are doing or not doing for that matter. Amani helped me to learn more about my passion – helping young people achieve their greatest potential – and how I can use minimal resources to keep the youth active and create huge impact. The tools I acquired including, design thinking, coaching, pitching, and story-telling amongst others have greatly helped me to bring RUKA! Youth Leadership Conference 2016 to life. The conference targeting youth aged...

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JUMP! Youth Leadership conference journey starts in Bangkok

JUMP! Youth Leadership conference journey starts in Bangkok

Young people play a crucial role not only in their own development, but also in the development of their communities. That role is much more than just ‘a voice’ or a symbolic presence; it is as an active agent of change. Young people aged 10 to 24 make up 1.7 billion of the world’s human capital. Growing presence of  youth in NGO sector and youth advisory boards to high level institutions and international programs show that many young people are already making important contributions and being recognized as prime participants in decision-making and development. Even though it is challenging to move from dialogue to real partnership and empowerment with youth, developing the capacity of and creating sustained partnerships with young people are crucial strategies to contributing to community development and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The success of our partnership with Global Potential in organizing Youth Leadership Conferences in communities throughout Haiti, Nicaragua, and the Dominican Republic with about 3000 total participants since 2009 has inspired us to organize a global youth development initiative called the JUMP! Leadership Conference – a series of conferences that equip youth to change the realities of their own communities through social entrepreneurship. The pilot JUMP! Leadership Conference was held in Bangkok, Thailand and took a local name of ก้าวหน้า which means to ‘move forward.’ It was a two day weekend conference on May 14 – 15, 2016 and was held at Ma:D Club for Better Society – a social enterprise hub here in Bangkok. W The participants had the opportunity to learn about design thinking and project creation. They got down to identifying problems in their communities and came up with tangible solutions as their social impact projects. There were a total of 4 projects presented at the conference that addressed today’s most compelling issues in Thailand, such as drought, teen pregnancy, plastic pollution and education. The two winning youth teams are working on the issue of teen pregnancy and wrong plastic waste separation. It was an inspirational weekend full of ideas, solution, collaboration, and with so much gained; the participants were true changemakers who felt the need to make a difference in their communities. Given the success of this first conference, JUMP! hopes to continuously connect with local partners who can be a part of the success of future conferences. The next chapter of the JUMP! Leadership Conference will take place under the name “RUKA! Leadership Conference” in the economic hub of East of Africa – Nairobi, Kenya. The conference is hosted by our partner Paamoja Initiative and will take place on 17-18 June at the St. Teresa’s Church Hall in Eastleigh. Click here to learn more about the conference. In Thai: เมื่อวันที่ 14-15 พฤษภาคม 2559 ที่ผ่านมา JUMP! ได้การจัดประชุมเชิงปฏิบัติการครั้งแรกที่กรุงเทพฯ ณ Ma:D Club for Better Society ซึ่งเป็นพื้นที่รวมตัวของผู้ที่สนใจกิจการเพื่อสังคม JUMP! จัดการประชุมครั้งนี้ โดยเชิญวิทยากรจาก G-Lab (คณะโลกคดีศึกษา) มหาวิทยาลัยธรรมศาสตร์ และ ALA (Asian Leadership Academy) มีเยาวชนเข้าร่วมทั้งสิ้น 15 คน จากพื้นที่ต่างๆของกรุงเทพฯ ตลอดระยะเวลาทั้ง 2 วันของการประชุม เยาวชนได้มีโอกาสอภิปรายถึงประเด็นการสร้างความเปลี่ยนแปลงทางสังคม ผู้เข้าร่วมได้ศึกษาปัญหาในชุมชนและได้นำเสนอหนทางแก้ไขที่เป็นรูปธรรม โดยปัญหาที่ได้นำมาอภิปรายมี 4 ประเด็น คือ ปัญหาการตั้งครรภ์ในวัยรุ่น การขาดแคลนน้ำ การรีไซเคิลขวดพลาสติก และ การสร้างบรรยากาศในห้องเรียนที่นำไปสู่การเรียนการสอนที่มีประสิทธิภาพดีขี้น กลุ่มที่ชนะการอภิปรายคือกลุ่มที่อภิปราย เรื่องปัญหาการตั้งครรภ์ในวัยรุ่่น และการรีไซเคิลขวดพลาสติก การประชุมนี้เป็นกิจกรรมที่สร้างแรงบันดาลใจและทำให้เกิดการเรียนรู้มากมาย ผู้เข้าร่วมได้กลายเป็นผู้นำการเปลี่ยนแปลงที่แท้จริง และมีความรู้สึกว่าพวกเขาจำเป็นที่จะต้องสร้างความเปลี่ยนแปลงในชุมชนของพวกเขาเอง จากความสำเร็จในการประชุมครั้งนี้ JUMP! หวังเป็นอย่างยิ่งว่าจะมีการทำงานร่วมกับองค์กรภาคีในท้องถิ่นอย่างต่อเนื่อง...

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Discovering Germany

Discovering Germany

Coco, originally from Yunan Province in China and now a resident of Beijing and an Operations Officer in our Beijing Hub, had the chance to go to Europe for the first time via Germany’s Into the Wild Conference. She will be rounding out our Germany participants’ reflections for the JUMP! blog starting with a quote:   “My commitment is to devote my whole life to social work, specifically working with youth who lack resources and information in China, a country where more and more children need help from both the government and individuals” I stated confidently in front of my new international family—a diverse group of passionate experiential educators from South Africa, Malaysia, the US, Germany, and China, just to name a few countries.   This was my first trip to Europe. A whirlwind to say the least. On our first three days we visited 5 different youth centers in Chemnitz, Dresgen, and Leipzig. As we walked around I was in awe at the multiplicity of activities and the spaces offered: performance stages with instruments, open kitchens, dining rooms, gyms, offices for social workers, and several bedrooms for youth and homeless people who needed temporary residence. These centers were not only open and communicative spaces for youth to play and share, but were also used as a working base for social workers. It was here that I could relate JUMP!’s philosophy with the integration of learning, play, and mentorship all centralized in one place.   I learned that on average there is a youth club for every 3,000 youths under 18 years old in Germany. These youth come to the centers to spend time and have fun with others in their community, or to seek advice and mentorship from the center’s social workers about problems at home and school. The role of a social worker reminded me a lot of JUMP!’s philosophy on facilitation and the role of the JUMP! facilitator. These social workers define themselves not as “parents” or “teachers”, but as individuals who, through their relationships with youth, are trusted to mentor and guide individuals to find solutions: they are like J! facilitators, facilitating and guiding youth through dialogue and play to realize their true potential.   After learning more about the German youth centers’ vision and mission, it was obvious that the all of Germany is invested in developing and supporting youth in their communities. There is not only a pervasive passion amongst the individuals involved in the centers but also very strong support from the German government to invest time, energy, and resources in order to create this open, communicative and safe space for youth. I couldn’t help but think about what this could look like in China. What if the Chinese government supported the development of youth centers similar to these? What would future generations look like then?   Social work in China is a commitment to my home country that I want to devote my life to. Finding a lifelong career dedicated to meaningful work is like finding a home for my soul, which is my biggest takeaway from this journey. I’m excited to start exploring what all of this could look like with the rest of the JUMP! China team.   On my last day, I overheard one of the social workers say, “Youth...

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“Into the Wild” then back to Bangkok…

“Into the Wild” then back to Bangkok…

Kat Kirk, a J!Experiences Program Manager, was another JUMP!er who escaped to Germany for the Into the Wild Experiential Education Conference. While having an amazing time, she found incredible insight that she wanted to share: “Swoosh-whack”, “swoosh – whack” the sound of two wooden sticks repeatedly hitting a rolled up blanket on a bench in a small grass meadow echoes across a still pond nearby. A tall 32-year old man from Eastern Germany, swings down the stick with intensity as another older man copies his action over and over. The theme question of this metaphorical activity is “What do you want to put your energy into?” After finishing the exercise, my co-educator, out of breath and with an exhausted smile on his face, explains that he is at a crossroads in life and is looking for a new meaningful path. He noticed that the older man, the guide in this activity, mimicked the force and speed of his beat. “I believe that this means,” he exclaims “that as much energy as I put into life and finding what I really want to do, I will get back. I feel very inspired now.” While he was reflecting on his question, other participants were aiming a bow and arrow, asking themselves what they want to focus on; walking through a laid out labyrinth to ponder where they want to deepen their knowledge; and following a string tied between trees blindly to consider who and what they put their trust in. These and several other similar reflective exercises were part of the metaphorical opening and stepping “into the wild” for the “Into the Wild International” Experiential and Outdoor Education conference. This 5-day 5-night event was held at a beautiful old countryside resort in Saxony, Germany and it brought together newbies and experts in the fields of youth and social work, outdoor guiding and experiential education, and provided a platform for sharing methods, frameworks, and new perspectives. A variety of presentations, workshops, and panel discussions kept the 140 participants from around the world engaged in brainstorming and learning. Representing Jump!, we were asked to facilitate one 4-hour program and then the next day another 5-hour workshop around Global Citizenship. We were delighted by the response of the participants.  The first day, we took our 10 participants on a metaphorical hike through the Leadership Mountain Range and showed them experientially our approach to “Think Globally, Act Locally, Start Personally”. On the second day, the attendance had doubled and conference participants from different regions of the world came prepared to discuss the meaning of global citizenship and ideas on how that concept and mindset can be shared with the Youth in their respective regions, and how they can be inspired to create positive change in their communities. After a community strength assessment and a fun group draw on what we think a Global Citizen looks like, we split off into smaller groups and discussed various global issues such as refugees, immigrants, education, access to outdoor projects and environmental issues. It is difficult to put the experience of the exchange program into words as everyday was so rich with great experiences and fun memories. The whole program and the conference was beautifully inspiring and enriching. I learned a lot in the sessions, made great connections in a very rich network...

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A few inspiring moments from Germany…

A few inspiring moments from Germany…

Yufei Du, a Princeton In Asia Fellow working with us at JUMP!, recently took a trip with some other JUMP!ers to Germany for an Experiential Education Conference. While mostly having a blast, he also had some reflections he’d like to share:   My experience in Germany so far, mostly focusing on Experiential Education and its many applications, was suddenly given some perspective with something deeply personal. On Sunday morning, our German colleagues had planned a trip to a pop-up refugee center where 55 young men from Syria and Afghanistan, no older than 25, without any family or friends, are being sheltered. Almost all of them ended up in Germany less than a month ago. Before the visit I had assured myself that intellectually I was prepared; however, upon arrival, emotionally, I was not. While talking with Wali, a 15-year old refugee, at some point in our conversation he brought up that his parents were killed by a car bomb planted by the Taliban. I was so caught off guard by the comment it shocked me into silence. But without missing a beat, Wali ended the awkward silence, picking up a different topic and inadvertently comforting me with a smile; a smile so big that its vividly replaying in my head while writing this reflection. It was a moment when the immigrant crisis, something so political and academic, something saturating the news and in turn contributing to a collective indifference, suddenly became personal, in my face, meaningful. It crushed me when Wali asked how long I would be staying in the center. My time in Germany had an end date and a guarantee for fruitful learning and effective networking; his was still clambering for even a semblance of a plan. We spent the next twenty minutes playing football together with some other exchange educators and refugee boys, the same thing we did an hour earlier when we had first met. As I motioned to leave, I saw in his eyes that he still had more that he wanted to share with me. Or really just anyone willing to...

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Facilitator Workshop on November 21st

Facilitator Workshop on November 21st

The JUMP! Foundation’s Bangkok hub is spending the winter gearing up and generating capacity for a busy and exciting program season. You’re receiving this email because you have shown interest in the work that The JUMP! Foundation does or someone has referred you as a excellent candidate to become a J! Facilitator. We are excited to be hosting a workshop on Saturday November 21st, and we’re officially inviting you to join us! This is a fantastic opportunity to develop your toolkit as an educator, facilitator, mentor, and manager. What are JUMP! Facilitators? JUMP! Facilitators are passionate educators and life-long learners who design and deliver life-changing experiential programs for youth around the world. JUMP! Facilitators are armed with tools, activities and questions to empower participants to create their own experience. How do you become a JUMP! Facilitator? The JUMP! Facilitator workshops are the first step to joining our J! Facilitator network. Workshop sessions are free and offered to interested candidates. All you have to do is get yourself over to Bangkok for a fun-filled day of learning and skill building, as well as networking with dynamic, interesting, like-minded people.  ​ Below are some locations of ​our winter programs around South East Asia. Many of these programs still have vacancies for facilitators and we’re hoping that you will be the right person to JUMP! into them. J! SCHOOLS PROGRAMS (Winter 2015) On-campus experiential education​ programs which focus on personal development, community building, leadership and global citizenship. Singapore, SINGAPORE Kuala Lumpur, MALAYSIA J! EXPERIENCE PROGRAMS (Winter 2015) ​O​ff​-campus experiential education​ programs which focus on personal development, community building, adventure, environmental awareness, sustainability and global citizenship. Chiang Mai, THAILAND Siem Reap, CAMBODIA Kunming, CHINA Singapore, SINGAPORE What is required for the Facilitator Training? You are required to be prepared for a fun day of learning and skill building, with many opportunities to network with dynamic, interesting, like-minded people. ​Please be in Bangkok on November 21st. You must organize your own transportation and accommodation to/in Bangkok. There is only one step to get started. Register here: J! Facilitator Workshop – Registration We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you soon in...

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Inaugural Event for the Experiential Education Workshop Series

Inaugural Event for the Experiential Education Workshop Series

JUMP! is pleased to announce an Experiential Education Workshop Series that we will be running from November 2015 – May 2016 in partnership with NIST. We are inaugurating our series on November 29th from 10:00-16:00 with team and community building guru Dr. Jim Cain, author of 14 adventure–based team building texts, winner of the Karl Rohnke Creativity Award presented by the Association for Experiential Education, and presenter of more than 1500 programs in 49 states and 28 countries in the past 10 years. His workshop will teach simple yet powerful activities that you can use as tools to explore leadership, trust, communication, creative problem solving, and teamwork in any group situation. If you are interested, or know of anyone who might want to take part in this invaluable resource, please forward on this email and If you would like further information on the event, or have decided you want to JUMP! into this event, please click here. Feel free to share this event on your social media outlets, and with other global change-makers you think would benefit from this program! If you have any questions please send us a mail at jump@nist.ac.th...

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“再见” Means “See You Again”

“再见” Means “See You Again”

“So why did you decide to intern at JUMP! Foundation this summer?” This was the most popular question tossed at me during my first two weeks at JUMP!. And it was the most challenging to answer, without giving too much context. Here’s why: about half a year ago, I decided to take on one of the most nerve-racking summer opportunities offered by Yale-NUS College, the newly-established liberal arts college in Singapore. This opportunity not only involves a long and deep conversation with one of the Deans, but also an arduous three-month long wait before the applicant knows of his/her final summer plan. No details of what the destination or what the job scope is will be given until two weeks before the applicant leaves. Everything is under the hands of the Dean and her crew, to source for something incredible and worthwhile. This is the Mystery Internship. While some may comment that I do not seem to have a choice as to where I would be allocated to, I relish in this chance to throw myself into the wild and adapt out of my comfort zone. When I eventually found out that I would be joining JUMP! for two months, I was extremely excited because experiential learning and youth development have been my areas of interests for quite a while now. However, I was slightly nervous for the outdoor elements since I am definitely not the fittest person you can find. Also, while living in Beijing should be a breeze since I’ve visited this city for countless times before, living on my own down a hutong was a whole new adventure. Gulou (Drum Tower), Beijing – near my apartment and round the corner of the office! I thought sixty days would take quite a while to pass, but one by one they flew by and soon I was having my farewell dinner with my dearest JUMP!ers. I guess this is what happens when you are having an incredible time, and with the company you can never get enough of. At the point of writing, I am back in Singapore to begin my sophomore year in College. Reflecting on the amazing moments I shared with the people in Beijing hub, the one huge takeaway (amidst many others) that has impacted me the most during my time with JUMP! (and hence I would like to share) is learning to use language as a tool of empowerment. During my internship at JUMP!, I was given the opportunity to be a facilitator. This means that I took on the role of an “adult” amongst the student participants and was entrusted the responsibility of keeping them safe. One of the activities during my first program was a high-ropes obstacle course. As I had not received proper training (since it was my second day of work), I was deployed on the ground to give safety instructions. This was especially pertinent for the “Spider Web” jump during the obstacle, for which students are to take a leap of faith and jump from a platform facing sideways onto a wall of ropes, for fear of rope burns on their faces. At the beginning, I constantly instructed the participants that when they are falling, to fall sideways and not straight onto the ropes with their faces. Being young...

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Thank you China

Thank you China

A month ago, I was sent from the Bangkok office to assist the JUMP! Beijing team with their major outdoor experience programs for the Dulwich College of Beijing. Being fairly new to JUMP!, I hadn’t yet participated in any JUMP! programs, nor had I ever traveled to China, and I was nervous and excited for my trip to Beijing. Now that my first journey in China has come to a close, and I get a chance to reflect over the past month, I am filled with a deep sense of accomplishment and inspiration for the future.   While facilitating these China programs, I was finally able to witness first hand, the magic that is a JUMP! program. I realize that my initial intention was to sit down and write a blog post, but it has just become clear what this really is. This is a thank you letter to the many people whom I had the pleasure of interacting with and learning from during my month in China.   To the full time JUMP! China Team, Josh, Sam and Coco: Thanks for all the work that you put into getting me to China, and making my life as comfortable as possible while I was there. It’s been amazing getting to know each of you after our previous interactions were just through Skype. You brought me in and gave me responsibilities that helped me grow my own confidence, personally and professionally. You also gave me your support, your trust and your friendship. These are things that I do not take lightly and appreciate immensely. You all showed incredible work ethic and dedication that I intend to do my best to emulate in every aspect of my life. The way you all look out for each other as a team, both in and out of the office, is a rare thing indeed and JUMP! is lucky to have all of you.   To the members of the Bangkok team with whom I had the pleasure of working in China, Elena, Aloni, Marcus and Justin: You all brought incredible expertise and experience to these programs and each one of you was an influential force in my learning here. All of you taught me lessons on the power of attention to intention, one of the many things that I have witnessed that really sets JUMP! apart from other organizations. At one point or another, each one of you asked critical questions to those around you to ensure that the quality of the programs that we provided was to the best of our abilities, and that even the smallest activity had a purpose and added something to the bigger picture. Justin, Aloni and Marcus were able to bring their incredible knowledge of experiential education and taught me loads about how to interact with colleagues, educators and administrators from partner schools, participants and people in general. By getting a chance to witness all of these amazing individuals in the field I learned invaluable lessons that I know will aid me wherever I am or with whatever I’m doing. Elena has been my partner in learning from the Bangkok team and it has been great to share this experience with her. I’m excited to get the chance to apply all of the lessons we have learned...

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