We plan to initiate a series of projects to establish a strong base to build upon in future years. These will cover the three interrelated goals of The Scheherazade Foundation:
Scheherazade Foundation Projects 2021
During the first year of its establishment, The Scheherazade Foundation will seek to bridge cultures, empower young women, and harness the didactic influence of stories. This will be achieved through programmes of outreach mentoring, through providing opportunities, and through highlighting shared commonalities, rather than that which divides us.
We will plan to initiate a series of educational workshops, webinars, and mentoring programmes. In future years, once funding becomes available, we would plan to offer grants for individuals to learn specific skills, so that they can achieve their maximum potential.
From the establishment of The Scheherazade Foundation, we will strive to raise funds through the network of high achievers known to us. We will map out a detailed plan that, while starting small, will allow the Foundation to grow.
Our belief is that, with time, and as the results are perceived by the wider community, the growth of the projects we implement has the chance to be exponential.
In each geographic region that we work, we will appoint an administrator to help us monitor the success of the projects. Where possible, we plan to work with young women, because we believe that doing so is an excellent way of furthering empowerment.
However, rather than try to inspire and mentor on a mass scale, we are far more interested in reaching each young person involved in the most beneficial way possible, accommodating their individual needs.
School Link is designed as a grass-roots way for children in different countries to engage with others from diverse backgrounds, and to learn from one another through shared projects and communication. Our hope is that the children involved will embrace the sense of global interconnection and make long-lasting friendships through the programme.
Within the School Link project, participating primary and secondary schools in Europe, Africa, North and South America, Asia and Australia will collaborate on projects to share ideas and solve problems. Participating schools and their work will be featured online, with a focus on working together towards shared goals.
We will aim to make structured lessons for classes to use, at first in English, but later in a variety of languages. We will establish a network of administrators as well as volunteers. Our hope is that teachers will be interested in signing up for the free School Link project, in order for the children they teach to benefit from increased international and intercultural exposure.
The plan is to run the project in three age groups:
- 8 to 11 years
- 12 to 15 years
- 16 to 18 years
Our research has shown that, in many countries, most state-run schools have no way to benefit from the kind of international exposure enjoyed by schools in the private sector. With this project, The Scheherazade Foundation can help level the playing field and make a difference to children from an early age.
The Scheherazade Foundation will cover the costs for online lesson plans, and will send teacher packs and study guides to participating schools for free. There will be no charge for the schools that take part, or for the children who are involved.
The Outreach Mentor programme will seek to pair individual students, and clusters of students, to a mentor – whether they be in the humanities, the creative arts, or other professional spheres. The aim is to show students that there’s a world outside the classroom – a world that requires certain skills.
At the same time, the focus will be on coaxing students to harness their innate sense of originality, and then use it to ‘Rethink Society’. Emphasis will be given to allowing children to solve problems in ways that are sensible to them.
We are developing a network of Achievers, who will be available to offer their vast communal expertise to clusters of children, and to students on a one-to-one level. The Achievers will have backgrounds in the fields of science and the arts, diplomacy, humanities, engineering, the media, and business.
We plan for the Achievers to mentor students through online communication, which will be monitored by an administrator within The Scheherazade Foundation, as well as an administrator at the participating school.
EMPOWERING YOUNG WOMEN
The focus of The Scheherazade Foundation’s projects on female empowerment is aimed at seeking to prepare young women with key credentials that will enable them to be fast-tracked within their chosen field, and to work with Achievers – established leaders in the media, business, and the arts – to recalibrate society’s current male-dominated status quo.
Our research has shown that, all too often and for many reasons, young women have inordinate difficulty in getting access to the tools which in turn will enable them to find fulfilling work.
These tools can include something as simple as paying for a new outfit to wear to an interview, as well as having a well-written CV, and the knowledge and confidence to navigate the interview process.
Our belief is that the road to empowering young women begins with building their confidence, by helping them to recognise their own determination and spirit, and letting it shine through.
The programme will establish creative clusters of sixth-form and undergraduate students (aged 18 to 22), and mentor them with Achievers in their chosen fields of interest.
If the young women involved are undecided about which path to follow, they will be introduced to a series of experiences, ideas, and real-life situations, through which they can learn about potential opportunities and life paths.
The goal of the programme is to forge the strongest possible ties between mentor and student, to remind the young women involved that they are capable of anything they set their minds to.
We are drawing up a board of Honorary Advisors who can help with providing inspiration. These Advisors will include a wide range of women who have broken barriers to realise their dreams – whether it is to be an astronaut, an Olympic medallist, an executive in a legal firm, or anything else on the vast spectrum of possibility.
We will work with individual students to make concrete First Steps on their chosen path. Crucially, we will be searching for young women who have not benefitted from abundant life chances, but who, given opportunities, will be likely to excel.
Our plan is to use our administrators in specific regions and countries to put out feelers, talking to school teachers and community leaders to locate young women who would benefit greatly from help in taking their first steps within society.
We will seek to form clusters of young women, both from the UK and other cultures, who will share ideas and experiences, and be supportive of each other in the decades to come.
Entering the world of work is a daunting time of life – far more so now than it was in decades gone by. Our focus is to show young women the systems and processes by which the modern world of work operates, and to give them practical assistance, so that they can realise their full potential.
HARNESSING THE TEACHING POWER OF STORIES
At The Scheherazade Foundation, we are passionate about stories and storytelling – the kind that has been a communal database of culture throughout human history. Named after the wise queen of The Thousand and One Nights, The Scheherazade Foundation believes that, by considering stories in new ways, we can draw from them the strongest life lessons imaginable.
Harnessed Tales is a project that will encourage a cross-cultural dialogue on the shared value of ancient treasuries, such as The Thousand and One Nights. It will consider how and why certain stories – such as Cinderella – are found all over the world, in versions from the Upper Amazon to the Mongolian Steppes.
The project will seek to document life lessons drawn from stories, publishing the findings online and in printed book form.
We plan to use stories as a way of bridging seemingly disparate societies, and showing the international community that we are essentially a single human culture.
Our core belief is that stories flourished in the most ancient depths of mankind’s development, as a matrix by which complex ideas and information could be passed on.
If a story were a delicious peach, the mouth-watering flesh we bite into equates with the entertainment value of a tale. It’s what attracts us to the piece of fruit. But the thing of real value is the peach’s stone. Just as eating the flesh allows for the stone to be seeded, telling a story enables the hidden layers of teaching to be passed on.
This educational matrix, which forms the bedrock of any culture – modern or ancient – has in recent decades been battered and eroded. The Scheherazade Foundation believes that society can relearn how to embrace the instructive value of stories.
The way we see it, relearning is like an exquisite chess set being discovered in a land where the game is unknown. Everyone might marvel at the board and pieces as objects of beauty. Nothing wrong with that, of course. But, in appreciating the beauty alone, one misses the fact that the chessboard and pieces hold the key to an intellectual pursuit that challenges the way we perceive the world.