The Bulletin interviews: Dayane Rodriguez, a past Commitment Award Winner

Logo for the Commitment Award Prize

Dayane Rodrigues was honored last year with a Committment Award, along with Natália Koto for their project "You Got This!". Before we interview Dayane, we'd like to encourage applications to the Commitment Awards. The deadline is this Sunday, May 15! You can find more information here.


Hi Dayane, thanks so much for joining us today! First off, what was your project called?

So the project is called: You Got This!

And what issue did you want to address with your project?

The idea for the project considers the existing inequality in access to information faced by the students that attend the prep courses targeting low-income students, which may reverberate in the access and permanence of them in the educational system, especially if they fail the test. Thus, the objective is to support them by facilitating access to information and helping them to develop skills that will help in their studies and professions in the future. It is expected to have a positive impact on their lives and to increase their chances to break the poverty cycle they live in by building the resilience that they need and developing practical knowledge.

What drove you to create your project?

I used to volunteer teaching math in the NGO that we work in partnership with to run the project, every year I used to see so many students that besides giving their best were not approved in the standardized test that would enable them to pursue a better education, that was really heartbreaking. I wanted them to know that this is not the end of the line in order to have a bright future ahead. I wanted to help them to get where they wanted to be despite a bad grade. Besides that, I've been always privileged enough to have the most amazing people crossing my way, people who believed in me even when I couldn't believe in myself, people who invested their time (and knowledge) to teach almost everything that I know today. People who helped me in so many ways. I will always be so grateful in a way that I'm afraid that I will never find the proper words to say thank you but I would like to try to return the favor by also investing my time and my knowledge in helping others.

Did you envision your project being short-term or long-term?

The NGO that locally supports us has been running for over twenty years now, I don't expect any less of You Got This! Nonetheless, we still have to pursue additional funding for the upcoming years.

What were some difficulties you faced in implementing your project?

The project is still up and running. Currently, the main challenge is the physical distance. The students are having their classes in presence and we're trying to adapt the formart of the mentoring program in the best way possible.

Reflecting back now, what lessons did you learn through winning the Commitment Award and going through with your project?

That we don't need to have an awesome idea to get started. It's cliche but you literally just have to get started. Even if your idea will help just one person, go ahead and give it a try. You learn so much on the way. This is the second year of the project already and we already see so many changes of scalling it up because of the opportunities that we identified in the first year and the improvements that we made so far.

Is your project still active? Are you still involved? What are you doing now?

Yes. The project is still active. To see the most relevant updates, follow us on social media. Instagram: // Facebook: /MentoriaYouGotThis

What would you want to say to people interested in submitting their projects for consideration?

You Got This! Don't hesitate to send it! Really, you learn so much in the process of submitting it that is definitely worth despite of the results. Also, not winning the CA is not the end of the line here. If you really want to put your project in motion, you can always use all the material to apply for funding from other sources as well.

Thanks so much for your time today!

About the interviewer

John M. McElfresh is a second year MPP student at the Willy Brandt School. 

~ The views represented in this blog post do not necessarily represent those of the Brandt School. ~