First-of-its-kind Rwandan women’s University showcases real economic empowerment
San Jose, CA (October 20, 2014) – Founded in 2009 by American Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes
and British born Dave Hughes, the Akilah Institute for Women is Rwanda’s first college
for women offering affordable, market-relevant education and career development to promising
female leaders. Honoring 20 years since the horrific Rwandan genocide, the Akilah Institute for
Women celebrates its Fifth Annual Metropolitan Safari. The San Jose event will be held
Wednesday, November 5th at 6pm at the Silicon Valley Capital Club at 50 W San Fernando
Street. Media are invited to attend this event and to schedule an interview with founder
Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes and Akilah Alumna and genocide survivor Nadine Niyitegeka.
Please reply to Lisa for full details.
Jon Freeman of Stonecrest and Suzanne Skees of the Skees Family Foundation are co-hosting the reception.Huffington Post recently featured founder Dearborn Hughes’ incredible journey.
Akilah’s Fifth Annual Metropolitan Safari began last month with events in DC, Chicago,
Boston and New York with upcoming events in San Jose (Nov 5) and Dearborn Hughes’ native
Tampa (Nov 15). With a large network of U.S. supporters in 5 major cities, Akilah hosts this
fundraising and educational event every year to raise awareness about the rise of East African
women. One hundred percent of donations from the events go directly toward scholarships and
support for women at Akilah.
In East Africa, most women work in subsistence agriculture and live on less than $2 per day.
Only one percent of the population enters university and less than one-third of those students are
female. To close the resulting gender gap in the economy, Akilah offers affordable education
geared toward the local and global business community.
The events this year mark the twentieth anniversary of the Rwandan genocide, celebrate Akilah’s
fifth anniversary and will feature Akilah Alumna, Nadine Niyitegeka, genocide survivor and now
popular community leader. Nadine was born into a single-parent home, and has risen to the role
of primary income earner for her mother and three siblings. The 1994 genocide profoundly
impacted them, but given her love for education, Nadine stuck with her studies and ultimately
found her way to Akilah. Today, Nadine is an Akilah employee, managing external relations.
Akilah students’ stories are emblematic of economic empowerment for young women in
Rwanda. Once accepted into Akilah, students select a major in Entrepreneurship, Information
Systems, or Hospitality Management. They graduate with the skills to find meaningful
employment and launch new businesses in the fastest growing sectors of the African economy.
Akilah’s first two graduating classes boast a career placement rate of 90 percent.
Marriott International is prominent among the 60 Akilah employment partners, as it plans to
open its first hotel in Sub-Saharan Africa in Kigali, Rwanda in 2015.
The Akilah model has proven its ability to connect education to employment and has been
named one of the Top Global NGOs by Global Journal. Newsweek magazine has named CEO
Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes one of the 125 Women of Impact 2013. International leaders and
institutions support Akilah, including Rwandan President Paul Kagame and First Lady Jeannette
Kagame, former President of the World Bank Robert Zoellick, Bill Gates Sr. of the Bill &
Melinda Gates Foundation, the Segal Family Foundation, Bill Marriott of Marriott International,
Johnson & Wales University, Swanee Hunt and many other global partners.
San Jose and San Francisco media are invited to attend the Nov 5th Metropolitan Safari event at
6pm at Silicon Valley Capital Club at 50 W San Fernando Street, or to schedule an interview
with founder Elizabeth Dearborn Hughes and Akilah Alumna Nadine Niyitegeka. Please reply
to request additional information, to RSVP to the event or to schedule an interview.
Akilah is a college in East Africa that offers a unique model of market-relevant education
empowering graduates for success in careers and leadership roles.
Press Contact: Lisa Lamprecht
www.akilahinstitute.org Email: firstname.lastname@example.org