Mindful movement has the power to change lives, but unfortunately it isn’t equally accessible to everyone.
To bridge this gap, The Movement Lab, a Merrithew™ Licensed Training Center in Cape Town, South Africa, launched a scholarship and mentorship program in 2019 in the hopes of making high-quality instructor training more accessible to those with limited resources to pursue it on their own.
“As a studio, we are committed to shaping a more diverse and inclusive wellness industry and this program is our first step in doing so,” says Merrithew Lead Instructor Trainer and The Movement Lab owner Lisa Palmer.
“We decided to offer this scholarship in order to give people who are passionate and invested in human movement the opportunity to pursue professional training, giving them the tools to earn an income and give back to their communities.”
The scholarship covers 100% of the fee for either the STOTT PILATES® Intensive Mat-Plus™ course, STOTT PILATES Intensive Reformer course, or the Total Barre® Instructor Foundation course.
So far, The Movement Lab has had two recipients, one of whom is now working at the studio as an instructor. They plan to offer one scholarship space per course going forward, and encourage other LTCs and Host Training Centers to consider doing the same, either by discounting the price of the course or materials.
The Movement Lab’s scholarship pre-requisites are: The applicant must have an interest in Pilates or exercise in general and must enjoy working with people; they also must submit an outline describing how they will give back to their community once they’ve completed their training, such as by offering a regular complimentary class to children.
Earlier this year, their second scholarship recipient, Angeline Gahadza, completed the STOTT PILATES IMP course.
“Angeline had a passion for Pilates and was interested in doing a course, but never had the opportunity to follow this dream,” Lisa says. “Her passion for movement and Pilates was very evident and she loves working with people and is very keen to give back.
“Angeline had been teaching group classes against all odds, but had never managed to get formal training,” Lisa says. “Someone saw The Movement Lab’s scholarship advertised on Instagram and put Angeline forward.”
Upon being accepted, Angeline said: “I am so excited to begin this journey with you and even more so to give back to the community. I feel that it will make a great difference in awareness and promotion of healthy living to introduce Pilates to youth.
“I am thinking that I can approach churches and schools for the underprivileged and offer free classes. I could also advertise a free class in those communities. There are too many communities, especially in my country of Zimbabwe, that are unaware that they can stay fit doing Pilates mainly because they do not know what it is. I would like to help bridge that gap."
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