Visit to the Akilah Institute for Women Rwanda

January 4, 2011 · Print This Article

Muraho from Kigali!

Today I’m working from The Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, Rwanda.

Akilah Institute for Women Rwanda

Here’s the beautiful vista of Kigali from one of Akilah’s classrooms overlooking some the many hills of Rwanda

Akilah is a non-profit school that teaches hospitality, leadership, and entrepreneurship to women 18-25 here in Rwanda. Akilah was started in 2009 by Elizabeth Davis and Dave Hughes and now has fifteen full-time staff including twelve here in Rwanda and three in Tampa, Florida.

The school opened its doors in January 2010 with 50 students and will be expanding to 120 students at the end of this month in January 2011. Through the two-year program, the girls learn skills that enable them to get jobs in Rwanda’s burgeoning hotel and tourism industry that pay on average 10x more than the girls earned previously. Akilah graduates can expect to earn about $6,000 per year at an entry-level hotel position. Akilah received over 1500 applications for just 70 available spots for the class of 2012. It costs Akilah about $3,000 per student per year of education.

The Marriott, Hilton, and Radisson are currently constructing hotels here in Kigali that will open in 2012. These will be welcome additions to the current options in the city of the Hotel Milles des Collines (aka Hotel Rwanda), Manor Hotel, Serena, Top Tower, and Novotel.

More and more travelers are coming to Rwanda every year to conduct business, make investments, see the mountain gorillas in the Virungas in the Northwest, learn about the country’s extraordinary history, climb Mount Karisimbi, visit the Akagera National Park, or relax on Lake Kivu.

I met Elizabeth in October at the Opportunity Collaboration conference in Ixtapa, Mexico. In November I hosted a fundraiser for Akilah called “A Metropolitan Safari” at the iContact Offices in Raleigh at which Elizabeth and Akilah students Anita and Gisele gave a moving presentation. During the eight-city tour that included Tampa, New York, Providence, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., and Raleigh, Elizabeth, Anita, and Gisele raised $185,000 for the organization, all going to girls scholarships.

Here are some photos of the beautiful Akilah Institute campus.

Akilah CEO Elizabeth Davis in front of the Akilah classrooms
Akilah CEO Elizabeth Davis out back behind the Akilah Institute classrooms and office
A view of some of the thousand hills of Rwanda
Elizabeth hard at work in the teachers’ office
Elizabeth in the Blue Classroom at Akilah
Ryan in the Blue Classroom at Akilah
Akilah Community Pledge
The Akilah Community Pledge

Expansion Plans for Akilah

Akilah is currently raising funds for girls scholarships to enable them to get through 2011. You can learn more on their web site about donation options.

Akilah plans to expand from 120 students to 800 in the coming years. They have recently received rights to 40 acres of land from the Rwandan government to build their new campus thirty minutes south of Kigali in Bugesera at the site of an old Italian School that shut down in the 1990s.

Here is how the Akilah model works. Central to the model is the expectation and obligation that each young women who attends Akilah will eventually pay for another to go to school in the future, using a portion of the increase in income they now have.

The Akilah Impact Diagram

What is Happening in Rwanda Today

It’s truly amazing what is happening here in Rwanda in 2011 after such a tumultuous history. Kagame has chosen to focus on building Rwanda into the tourism and IT hub of Africa and growing the country through private sector development. He says if Singapore and South Korea did it, why can’t Rwanda. The country is stable, developing rapidly, and extremely welcoming. Akilah is just one example of many of the wonderful things happening here!

More to come from Rwanda in the days ahead…

Muraho from Kigali!

Today I’m working from The Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, Rwanda.

Akilah Institute for Women Rwanda

Here’s the beautiful vista of Kigali from one of Akilah’s classrooms overlooking some the many hills of Rwanda

Akilah is a non-profit school that teaches hospitality, leadership, and entrepreneurship to women 18-25 here in Rwanda. Akilah was started in 2009 by Elizabeth Davis and Dave Hughes and now has fifteen full-time staff including twelve here in Rwanda and three in Tampa, Florida.

The school opened its doors in January 2010 with 50 students and will be expanding to 120 students at the end of this month in January 2011. Through the two-year program, the girls learn skills that enable them to get jobs in Rwanda’s burgeoning hotel and tourism industry that pay on average 10x more than the girls earned previously. Akilah graduates can expect to earn about $6,000 at an entry-level hotel position. Akilah received over 1500 applications for just 70 available spots for the class of 2012. It costs Akilah about $3,000 per student per year of education.

The Marriott and Radisson are currently constructing hotels here in Kigali that will open in 2012. These will be welcome additions to the current options in the city of the Hotel Milles des Collines (aka Hotel Rwanda), Manor Hotel, Serena, Top Tower, and Novotel.

More and more travelers are coming to Rwanda every year to conduct business, make investments, see the mountain gorillas in the Virungas in the Northwest, learn about the country’s extraordinary history, climb Mount Karisimbi, visit the Akagera National Park, or relax on Lake Kivu.

I met Elizabeth in October at the Opportunity Collaboration conference in Ixtapa, Mexico. In November I hosted a fundraiser for Akilah called “A Metropolitan Safari” at the iContact Offices in Raleigh at which Elizabeth and Akilah students Anita and Gisele gave a moving presentation. During the eight-city tour that included Tampa, New York, Providence, Chicago, Boston, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C., and Raleigh, Elizabeth, Anita, and Gisele raised $185,000 for the organization, all going to girls scholarships.

Here are some photos of the beautiful Akilah Institute campus.

Akilah CEO Elizabeth Davis in front of the Akilah classrooms
Akilah CEO Elizabeth Davis out back behind the Akilah Institute classrooms and office
A view of some of the thousand hills of Rwanda
Elizabeth hard at work in the teachers’ office
Elizabeth in the Blue Classroom at Akilah
Ryan in the Blue Classroom at Akilah
Akilah Community Pledge
The Akilah Community Pledge

Expansion Plans for Akilah

Akilah is currently raising funds for girls scholarships to enable them to get through 2011. You can learn more on their web site about their capital campaign.

Akilah plans to expand from 120 students to 800 in the coming years. They have recently received rights to 40 acres of land from the Rwandan government to build their new campus thirty minutes south of Kigali in Bugesera at the site of an old Italian School that shut down in the 1990s.

Here is how the Akilah model works. Central to the model is the expectation and obligation that each young women who attends Akilah will eventually pay for another to go to school in the future, using a portion of the increase in income they now have.

The Akilah Impact Diagram

What is Happening in Rwanda Today

It’s truly amazing what is happening here in Rwanda in 2011 after such a tumultuous history. Kagame has chosen to focus on building Rwanda into the tourism and IT hub of Africa and growing the country through private sector development. He says if Singapore and South Korea did it, why can’t Rwanda. The country is stable, developing rapidly, and extremely welcoming. Akilah is just one example of many of the wonderful things happening here!

More to come from Rwanda in the days ahead…

Comments

2 Responses to “Visit to the Akilah Institute for Women Rwanda”

  1. robyn blaikie collins on January 6th, 2011 9:45 pm

    what a brilliant scholarship model. i love the expectation of success and cyclical nature of betterment.

  2. Aimable on June 12th, 2011 1:51 pm

    this is a good place, good school, good goals i’ll work there for sure!

Got something to say?