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2016 Top-Rated Nonprofit

Stepping Stones International

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Nonprofit Overview

Causes: Children & Youth, Youth Development Programs

Mission: To unlock the potential of orphaned and vulnerable youth (ages 12-25+) by nurturing their mental, physical and social well-being and creating realizable opportunities for them to become self-sufficient.

Results: 7000+ youth served since 2005

Target demographics: unlock the potential of orphaned and vulnerable youth (ages 12-25+) by nurturing their mental, physical and social well-being to create opportunities for them to become self-sufficient.

Direct beneficiaries per year: 1000+ youth

Geographic areas served: Mochudi, Botswana

Programs: Leadership Skills, Life Skills, Community Mobilization, Men Care, Social Advocacy (HIV/AIDS, teenage pregnancy, gender based violence)

Community Stories

75 Stories from Volunteers, Donors & Supporters

Donor

Rating: 5

I know of the commitment of the staff and volunteers at Stepping Stones International; recently had the opportunity to visit with Tinny Seitei and learn from her about the impact Stepping Stones has on the children and the community. It was heartwarming to hear her stories. Impressive that contractors who come to Botswana want to do what they can to help the community.

Kate49

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Stepping Stones International is an amazing program that has made such a difference in the lives of so many young people. They provide support and services to a very underserved populations, teens and young adults orphaned by AIDES. Our Women's Club has donated to SSI for the last few years and we feel good that our donation is carefully used to directly benefit the participants. We have seen the growth of the program over time and look forward to continued involvement.

Timothy14

Donor

Rating: 5

This program has been well planed and implemented with intelligence and experience gained in the area it suports. I know some of the people behind this organization and can honestly say that I have never ment a more dedicated group in my life. The love and passion the staff and administration have, both fo the children in the program and for those that have graduated from the program, is evident when talking to or when receiving emails from them. The work they put in to making it the exceptional program it is give me the confidence that my donation is reaching children in need and helping these children build a better life for themselves.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I served as a US Peace Corps Volunteer at SSI for two years, 2011-2013. It was incredible to watch the adolescent participants grow in self confidence and leadership ability, gain skills to help them succeed academically and in life, and to build meaningful relationships with their peers and staff. SSI makes all the difference in the lives of these orphans and vulnerable teens, many of whom are HIV positive. It is a well run organization that strives to continually improve its programs. It is THE best run NGO in Botswana!

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

My name is Nontombi Gungqisa. I joined Stepping Stones in August 2013 as a "Finding the Leader Within" Leadership Coordinator. This organisation unlocks a world of opportunities for youth. Everyone associated with it is presented with the opportunity to excel from the welcome, buildings, colorful rooms, positive energy and creativity, and divers cultures.

Psychosocial support is the core in this organisation for both our direct clients and their primary caregivers including grandmothers. We pride ourselves with community ownership and grooming the asserts of the next generation - the youth.

1

Professional with expertise in this field

Rating: 5

Lisa Jamu, the founder and ED of Stepping Stones, is a longtime friend and colleague. She poured her heart and soul into the creation of this incredible organization, and keeps it running – impacting the lives of 1000s in Botswana and internationally – with great passion and professionalism. Her culturally appropriate model – imbued with community input, local staff, and techniques such as peer-to-peer mentoring – nurtures the growth and well-being of orphaned and vulnerable adolescents. In a relatively short period of time, Lisa - together with her staff, board and many dedicated volunteers - has designed and implemented an impressive, holistic program for the development of self-sufficient, self-assured young adults. I greatly admire her success.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Alexa Grooms and I had the pleasure of serving Stepping Stones International as an intern for two months. I helped S.S.I with their social media and developing their leadership curriculum.

During my time, I worked closely with the faculty and participates especially Lisa Jamu. The passion and drive in every faculty member and the experience of every participant was positive. S.S.I does not just help its 100 participants will homework it takes a holistic approach to bettering their lives-- with goal setting, financial literacy, leadership building, and life skills. These subjects are not taught in schools and these participants without question are more secure and ready for life. S.S.I has also helped many participants go to college with their tutoring and land jobs and internships with their connections in the community.

S.S.I is a highly respected and thriving non-profit. Their ambition and drive to make their participants better in my opinion makes them an elite non-profit that deserves all positive recognition.

Celine B.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have had the opportunity to be a volunteer in the SSI program. I have learned so much about the community, as well as my own personnality.
My first initial goal when I first started was to improve the academic skills of the teenagers that attended the program. Everyone that worked there made a difference; helping them in their daily obstacles, supporting them in their actions even providing them with a meal, gave them courage to strive in their lives.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

My name is Kent Rowe and I volunteered with Stepping Stones initially to help establish a philosophy of sport and health. The idea was to use sports, physical activity and general health as a way of life, and the lessons learned from sport in other aspects of your life.
When I arrived I soon realized what I was to do on top of my initial mandate was to roll up my sleeves and help in anyway possible. This ranged from helping with the meals, to listening to the kids stories and telling stories of where I come from.

this was one of the best experiences of my life as it helped me to better understand our global community. I speak of my experiences on a regular basis to anyone who will listen, and it seems everyone I speak to is interested to know more.

Thobo M.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have worked with Stepping Stones for almost a year now. Their staff and programs are great! The leadership and staff are really dedicated towards improving the lives of the youth they serve. The young people they serve appreciate and love their programs. They are dedicated to making the most of the opportunities given to them.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Upon arriving at Stepping Stones, I was extremely impressed with their facilities and commitment to bettering vulnerable children's lives. Everyday there are mentors and employees there to help the children with their studies. The income generation project also provides a unique opportunity for the children to raise income. They can raise this income by making recycled bead jewelry or by working in the garden.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Stepping Stones International is an inspiring NGO whose approach and success story diverge from much of the discourse surrounding similar institutions. Although SSI is in its infancy, it is a recognized leader on the Botswana non-profit scene. I am elated to be associated with Stepping Stones and have remained motivated and supported throughout my stay here.

Strengths at SSI include program and management flexibility, psycho-social support, keeping the participants healthy and cared for, and educational tools. Points of improvement would be further encouraging the participants to use their imaginations in a variety of scenarios.

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have volunteered here for almost a year now and I wish that this year that I am spending here would never end. There is a spirit within the staff that makes you happy to work overhours for the children, they are like a big family. Even if I am leaving soon the path of Stepping Stones International and mine are definitely going to cross at some point in my life again.
The love that is shown to these children on an averyday basis, their holistic approach in improving their life situations gives me a warm feeling in my heart after an exhausting day. Please support these guys!

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Stepping Stones International has done incredible work with young people ages 12- 18 + promoting safe sex practices, raising awareness about sexual abuse, preventing teenage pregnancy and providing social support networks and mentorship to teens living with HIV/AIDS in Botswana.

6

Volunteer

Rating: 5

I have spent the last two summers working with the staff and participants of Stepping Stones International to develop their curriculum. The staff has been eager to learn how to lesson plan and develop their skills in designing worthwhile activities that best benefit the learning of the participants. The goal is to educate the adolescents to improve their quality of life and develop a strong self-esteem so goals and dreams can be obtained. There was a major change in many of the participants from one year to the next. They portrayed a stronger sense of self and displayed higher levels of confidence. Lisa Jamu, the founder of Stepping Stones International, works tirelessly to find funding, build a quality, well trained staff, and network with the Mochudi and surrounding area communities. The biggest obstacle is funding and having the resources to further evolve and grow.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 5

my experience with stepping stone was spectacular, the first time i heard about it i was surely taken aback and then came their official open which as a perfect way of make us partners to experience what they are doing for the kids of Mochudi which is so splendid. The approach they use is holistic and give the children a chance to choose and make choices. It is really important keep stepping stones as it reaches to so many students. I remember asking Lisa why she doesn't scale up he services ad she said to me give me money i will do it. So give her the funds she will do it.

6

Former Volunteer

Rating: 5

I volunteered with SSI for 4 months last summer and couldn't have asked for a better experience. Working with the youth was such a rewarding and humbling experience that I will never forget. Lisa was the perfect supervisor and has a good handle of the orginazation. I found her to be extremily flexible and supportive of the staff. She provided additional training for the staff on a number of occassions and was continually working hard to ensure everyone was both happy and productive. She also worked with the youth at SSI often and you could tell they all loved and respected her very much. The youth at the centre are in extremily difficult situations and require the love, attention, support, guidance and resources that SSI works to provide them. Including MANY different programs in the SSI curriculum allows all youth to grow into mature and responsible adults in many different ways. Through horseback riding, they learn strategies on focusing as well as responsibility by taking care of the horse. Through gardening and composting, they learn effective strategies of taking care of their environment, as well as taking responsibility of maintaining the vegitables. The list goes on and on. The holistic approach that Lisa and the staff at SSI have taken to develop the organization's curriculum is commendable. They are taping into the various learning styles and strengths of each of the students, opening up a dialogue with the them and collaborating with them so that everyone gets the best experience they can.

5

Volunteer

Rating: 5

Being at Stepping Stones International has been a very pleasant and fulfilling experience. The program that it offers is making such a difference in the adolescents lives. Their self-esteem and confidence growing everyday and its so wonderful to see the adolescents being more open and putting themselves out there.

6

Donor

Rating: 5

We are about to provide funds to SSI to bring their school-based peer education intervention to our project. We selected SSI because of the excellent work they do and for their cost efficiency. SSI is one of the leading local NGOs of Botswana and contributes greatly to the betterment of the country's young people. My only hope is that it can expand its work nationwide.

5

General Member of the Public

Rating: 4

SSI helps youth become more confident in themselves and their future. They are able to see for themselves that they can continue to go to school and reach for the stars despite their personal situations.