Background on the organization:
Mai Soli Foundation tackles large-scale societal problems like child marriage and cycical dependency by addressing the roots of gender inequality. Their research found the primary root cause of child marriage to be financially motivated, as girls are considered economic liabilities to their families, lacking necessary skills and knowledge to join the workforce. They therefore concluded that the best course of action would be to position girls to be as good if not better investment than boys for their communities. This is accomplished by creating the space of education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship needed to transform girls into leaders in their communities. Each week, mentors are sent to local, non-governmental girls schools in Salimpur and Chittagong. Nearly all of these mentors are from the Asian University of Women, a product of a highly selective vetting process and intensive orientation training sessions. Using their proprietary curricula, focused in Entrepreneurship, Financial Literacy, and Leadership Confidence, girls in the program receive interactive and impactful lessons that are reinforced by group cohort sessions, and one-on-one meetings, and team field experiences and projects. By pairing education with action and coaching, the girls develop the soft and hard skills needed to rise as entrepreneurial thinkers and doers in their communities, reinventing and modernizing the image of a woman’s capacity and impact in oppressive societies.
A Day in the Life of Mai Soli Foundation:
Discussing the day-to-day operations of Mai Soli Foundation is a much more complicated question than it may seem. There are a constantly fluctuating number of moving parts, all occurring simultaneously.
The Executive Team, based out of the United States, consists of three core members, Aria Mustary, the President and Founder, Glen Ged, the Vice President of Development, and Aaron Wendell, the Vice President of Operations. While the foundation was still in its startup phase, each of the three wore all the hats of the organization, making the individual titles obsolete. However, after Mai Soli Foundation took off, the three were able to settle into their roles. With Mustary and Ged being full-time college students and Wendell also working a full-time job, they push the limits of time each and every day.
Mustary’s day begins with waking up bright and early and immediately jumping on a daily call with their Regional Director in Bangladesh, Nipa Das, to discuss and analyze the previous day’s activities and and set action steps for the coming days and weeks. Later, she attends her courses at Babson College, using whatever she learns to help grow and develop the foundation. Right after class, she then sends emails to the mentors and holds one-on-one meetings with each of them. The rest of her day is filled with Executive Team meetings, planning for the foundation’s future, and assuring that the current program is running smoothly.
Moving onto Ged, his day begins with catching up with the mentors in Bangladesh and what was happening the day before, accounting for the drastic time difference. Most of his role is occupied with fundraising, networking, and planning for the future. This takes its form in a variety of ways, some of which include representing the organization at networking events, creating promotional videos / documentaries, and writing articles. Currently planning for the upcoming South Florida and New York City fundraisers, Ged is working to raise funds and awareness to maintain the program and expand for the future. Visiting schools in the Bahamas and working with interns to expand to Nepal, Ged is always trying to set up success for Mai Soli Foundation’s future.
As Vice President of Operations, Wendell’s day begins with catching up on emails and reviewing everything that the foundation is working on, making sure there are no errors and looking for areas of improvement. Upon diving into his work, he looks over any and all statistics, infographics, documents, email drafts and proposal to make sure they are perfect and ready for the public. An integral part of his role involves looking for and finding communicational and operational gaps between the mentors, mentees, and the Regional Director, and immediately working towards bridging those gaps. He is the foundation’s expert on infographics and graphic promotional material and the lead for technology. He strives to constantly leverage his expertise to look for how the foundation can add and integrate advanced technology into the programming and culture.
Nipa Das is the foundation’s Regional Director in Bangladesh. She is tasked with reassuring the operational excellence of the organization and programming by closely working with those who are the face of the foundation: the interns, mentors, and girls who are taught. She maintains close relationships with each of the foundation’s twenty menors and various interns, reassuring that every step is properly taken, with at least two contingency plans behind each movement. Das coordinates the distribution of mentors to the correct schools and supports them every step of the way. She also remains in constant communication with each of the partnered girls’ schools, maintaining a healthy relationship between Mai Soli Foundation and their partnered schools.
The Program Coordinator Intern works closely with the Regional Director; she is also tasked with reassuring the operational excellence of the Mentorship Program. She maintains regular communication with each and every mentor. She assists the Regional Director with ensuring that there are no gaps in communication or operations.
The Mai Soli Foundation Mentors are the backbone of the organization; there would be no functioning programming if it were not for this group of intelligent and well-qualified young women. Currently, there are twenty mentors, nearly all from Asian University of Women, in Chittagong, Bangladesh. These young women travel weekly to the partnered girls’ schools in Salimpur and Chittagong city to teach the three Mai Soli Foundation curricula, as well as conduct one-on-one meetings, cohort sessions, and team field experiences.
Mai Soli Foundation is comprised of a vast variety of moving parts and team members, all productively working towards a common goal. Each part is a puzzle piece to the grand image of eliminating child marriage and mitigating gender inequality, and only working together is their vision acheivable.