Bhavna’s Transformational Journey

This month our team were delighted to meet Bhavna Singh, now in her final year at high school, who began her ‘Transformational Journey’ at primary school when, aged five, she joined Kiwi Can. Mentoring has been a huge part of her life since then, both as a mentee and a mentor.

As she explains: "When I was little I was really shy - Kiwi Can helped me to gain more confidence and make new friends. I really engaged with the activities, and remember loving it. Our Kiwi Can leaders really helped each and every one of us to gain confidence and build relationships with other people. It's really helped me in my life to become who I am now. It's also why I later joined Stars as a mentor."

"Stars was at my high school when I started, so I was mentored and now I'm mentoring. My mentors taught me to be confident, encouraged me to do my studies and take any opportunities I was given. That really inspired me to become a mentor myself.”

Kiwi Can provided the foundation for Bhavna to gain the confidence she needed. However, confidence grows over time - this is why it is so important to have our young people go through the Transformational Journey.

“Without having gone through the Stars programme, I would have been really shy, in the corner doing my own thing.

"I've learnt a lot over the past few years through Stars. I've gained confidence along with building many relationships with people that I didn't know before. Mentoring is a big part of my life. I'm really invested and put all my time towards it."

Tamara Elliot who oversees the Stars and Career Navigator programmes was a Kiwi Can leader at Bhavna’s primary school and saw her go through a large part of her Transformational Journey from the age of seven. If it wasn't for my mentor Jimmy I wouldn't be here right now helping the juniors, and I wouldn't be confident enough to speak in front of a whole class which I do now for Stars."

As she recalls " Bhavna was always a respectful, presentable young lady in Kiwi Can…. I can now see that through being a Stars mentor, she's taken on board the expectations of the programme - such as commitment, time-management and being a role model. What really makes me smile is when she sits with her mentees in her own time, such as lunch time, to see how they're getting on. She makes that extra effort and what makes her even more outstanding is she spends time with her mentees from last year as well – this is very rare.

"I've seen her confidence really blossom over the years. Kiwi Can was certainly her foundation, and Stars has given her the extra guidance so she can tap into the confidence she found through Kiwi Can.”

Bhavna hopes to get after-school work at her old primary school, where her Transformational Journey began, to give back what she has gained. And she’d love to be a Kiwi Can leader.  She is now part of the Career Navigator programme and is being mentored by Olivia from Fonterra.

In Bhavna’s own words: "Career Navigator really helped me put together my CV and get prepped for a job. The workshops were really helpful - the activities too. They really helped build my confidence with work.

I'm getting to the point where I'm starting to think about what I want to do with my life now and how I might be able to do that.

I started writing my CV in the workshop last year, and it was the first time actually looking at my CV. I had no idea how to do one. I showed my mentor, Olivia, and she said it was really good, which was very encouraging. It's interesting having her mentor me - seeing her mentoring me, while I'm mentoring other people. I’ve had so many streams of mentoring through my life; ever since primary school. It's good to be a part of this journey; building communication skills and confidence.".

"Mentoring means a whole lot of different things to me. Everyone should get involved in mentoring, because it will really change where you stand in life right now. It will totally change your perceptions of other people. If Stars was in every school, it would make a huge difference and really change the culture of the school."

Mentoring can make a pivotal difference to the lives of young people like Bhavna. The Graeme Dingle Foundation's Transformational Journey allows young New Zealanders to gain confidence and find purpose and direction.

Did you know that almost 250,000 Kiwi kids lack self-confidence? That 45,000 Kiwi kids report being bullied each week? That 170,000 Kiwi kids have been truant in the last year? And sadly 45% of all unemployed in New Zealand are youth?

We aim to treat the causes of these issues, not the symptoms, by transforming and guiding these deserving young lives towards a positive future.

For as little as $60 a month, you can help support a student to go through our transformational journey.

Our Transformational Journey programmes – Kiwi Can (ages 5-12), Stars (age 13 with mentors aged 16-18) and Career Navigator (ages 15-18) are all underpinned by best practice mentoring and role modeling.

Donate now to help us transform young lives forever


Check out a class at Sutton Park Kiwi Can learning their manners!