Lives lost from the outbreak of Ebola in 2014-16. (CDC, 2016)


Of girls are married by the age of 18, and 21% by the age of 15. (UNICEF, 2017)


Of primary school age (7-14) children are out of school and 49% of youth ages 15-24 have no formal education. (EPDC, 2014)

Life for many children in post-Ebola Guinea continues to be extremely difficult. In Conakry, the youth who come to the MindLeaps program have no access to basic needs: education, food, or hygiene services. They are susceptible to abuse, trafficking and hunger, while dealing with severe health risks on a daily basis. Post-Ebola, the number of out-of-school children increased from 381,963 in 2014 to 425,413 in 2016. This was worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic. Of the several long-term effects on school-age children, reports have shown that globally as many as 24 million additional children will permanently drop out of school due to the break in education from COVID-19 (UNICEF, 2020), adding to the 258 million currently out of school.

The MindLeaps Center in Conakry

MindLeaps began working in Guinea in 2011 through partnerships with other organizations, and in 2017 went on to open its own center in the capital city of Conakry, providing a permanent safe space to continue its full dance and education programs. The center welcomed 44 children who had previously lived on the streets or had escaped prostitution. As of 2020, MindLeaps now serves over 200 children in Guinea.

The MindLeaps Center’s ten-member Guinean staff employs the same three-phase approach successfully established in Rwanda. Children come to the center to attend a “fun dance class” but are actually participating in a carefully structured kinesthetic-based curriculum targeting critical learning skills that prepare them for entry into school or vocational training. The program develops the ability to concentrate, memorize and use language, while also developing teamwork, discipline, grit, creativity, and self-esteem.

The dance classes are accompanied by English language classes, meal provisions, and a health and sanitation program. Those children who have adapted to this more structured learning environment and have developed across key cognitive skill areas, are sponsored to attend school or vocational training programs.