Target: Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes, founder of Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali
Goal: Applaud efforts to rebuild Rwanda and heal the scars of genocide through education and commerce
Many young people are making great strides toward renewing the country Rwanda, almost 20 years since horrendous genocide scarred the African nation. Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes, for example, moved to Rwanda after graduating from college in the U.S., inspired to take action after learning about the genocide. She, along with her husband Dave Hughes, whom she met after moving to Rwanda, founded the Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, a three-year college for women where 97 percent of students are the first in their family to pursue a higher education. The Akilah Institute makes a huge difference in the community, and is a project that deserves international support.
The Akilah Institute works closely with the Ministry of Education and Workforce Development Authority to design a curriculum that aims to fill the gaps in the workforce, moving toward goals for growing tourism and technology industries in the area. Statistics show that the program is working, with 90 percent of all graduates securing jobs or internships.
Other extraordinary efforts are also being made in Rwanda, with the Gardens for Health International (GHI) headquarters placed only thirty minutes from Kigali and the Akilah Institute. GHI is an organization that provides nutrition education to families and helps prevent childhood malnutrition, an epidemic problem throughout Rwanda. The organization owns and runs five acres of farmland that supplies a variety of nutritious foods to locals.
Other food-focused start-ups contribute not as nonprofit organizations but as small businesses contributing to local commerce and job creation. Alissa Ruxin and her husband relocated from the U.S. to Rwanda to start Heaven, a restaurant with delicious foods made from local ingredients. Ruxin believes, “The best thing that you could possibly do for Rwanda—for health, for development, for political stability, for everything—is to create jobs in a sustainable way.” Commend the efforts of all these trailblazers to create a better Rwanda, and to rebuild the community after the genocide.
Dear Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes,
Thank you for your efforts, alongside many other important trailblazers, to rebuild Rwanda after the genocide. You have made such an incredible impact on the community by founding the Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, so as to educate women, who make up the sweeping majority of the Rwandan population, and prepare them to perform jobs that are desperately needed in the community.
97 percent of your students are the first in their families to pursue a higher education, showing a great shift toward educating students who would otherwise be unable to attend college. 90 percent of your graduates have secured jobs or internships, showing that the curriculum you have carefully created is effective in preparing students for jobs that are in demand in the community.
You are making a great difference in Rwanda by educating women to provide valuable goods and services that will rebuild the Rwandan community. Please continue your efforts to grow the Akilah Institute, and support other efforts being made to help Rwanda grow in strength and success.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Colleen Taugher via Wikimedia