PROJECT AKILAH INC

Rating: 4.93 stars   29 reviews

Issues: International, Philanthropy

Location: 814 S Delaware Ave Tampa FL 33606 USA

Mission: Amani Africa works with more than 5,000 street children and orphans in Rwanda and Burudni. The UN estimates that there are over 2.5 million orphans in Rwanda. Amani provides educational opportunities to these children, while promoting reconciliation through sports teams, art, and workshops for teenagers.

2011 Top-Rated Nonprofit
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Community Reviews

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Rating: 5 stars  

I have had a wonderful experience working with the Akilah Institute. A friend of mine introduced me to this charity a few years ago as he knew one of the founders (Elizabeth Dearborn Davis) from high school. Right away I knew this was something I wanted to be involved with. Not only do I think it's extremely important to give young women across the globe, specifically in Africa, an education, but I also loved how I knew exactly where the funds from this charity were going and who was running it.

Last year I had the chance to meet two of the students who have benefited from Akilah. I think what amazed me most was their incredible strength. These girls grew up in genocide and now some of them are living next door to the people who murdered their families. The level of forgiveness is quite incredible, and made me truly realize how very special these young women are.

Lastly, Akilah focuses on teaching these young women about tourism, as this is the fastest growing sector in Rwanda. This education is one of the major tools that allows them to finally get out of poverty.

I can't say enough good things about this charity and look forward to working with it in the future.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have met with students, staff and teachers from this organization. I also donate monthly and receive information on the students and how the school is growing all the time.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I would not change a thing - I think they are doing amazing work.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

Supporting Akilah Institute for Women has been a wonderful experience. I was introduced to this team because of my experience in events that empower women. Akilah Institute made its way to my home in NYC for their U.S. tour. I was very inspired by the story of these young Rwandan women and the work of Elizabeth Dearborn Davis. When I began participating in their NYC event, I was immediately impressed by the persistence, motivation, and organization of the Akilah team. The New York City event went great. It was inspiring meet Elizabeth Dearborn Davis and two of the Akilah Institute students, Gisele and Anita. It brought tears to the eyes to learn about Gisele and Anita's journey to becoming leaders in their community. It was a festive evening with much to celebrate and I thank Akilah Institute for being a model of empowerment for me. I love that the Akilah team has kept in touch. The newsletters on the progress of their students and highlights of the year has been an awesome reminder of things we should think of that are happening in different parts of the world, the impact of education, and the change our support can bring to the world.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

one on one conversations with two of their students about their experiences

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

n/a

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

When I heard Elizabeth Davis speak about Rwanda at a small event in St. Petersburg, Florida, I was so impressed by her passion and commitment that I not only followed her as she established her vision of the best way to empower Rwandan women through education, but I was inspired to go to Rwanda to visit the proposed campus.

I continue to be impressed by the progress that Akilah has made not only in the expected curriculum but more importantly is the emphasis on leadership training and value of character development.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I met two of the students in the first class who traveled to the US last fall and I believe everyone who met and heard them speak of their experiences has no doubt as to the tremendous impact and value Akilah delivers. I have worked closely with several staff member and interns and continue to be impressed with the dedication shown by everyone involved with the organization.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

not want to jeopardize it's success.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 4 stars  

I help by doing Graphic Design work for Project Akilah. I am a Graphic Designer by trade, but the volunteer work that I do for Akilah actually gives back to me - it makes my work feel worthwhile, as I can see and feel how my contribution adds to an organization that is helping to educate and empower so many young women. I have had the splendid opportunity to meet two of the young women attending the Akilah Institute for Women, and their spirit, strength, hope and determination is such a gift - has been such an inspiration to me.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I have had the splendid opportunity to meet two of the young women attending the Akilah Institute for Women, and their spirit, strength, hope and determination is such a gift - has been such an inspiration to me.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Not sure...

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

In the fall 2008 I met the founders of Akilah, Elizabeth and David, in Rwanda as our group began the design for their new campus. Their passion to make a difference in the lives of young Rwandan women is profound, and it is clear that they have inspired all the volunteers, teachers, board members and donors that they have worked with in the past three years.

Although, the organization is young they have already introduced a second class to the curriculum at the Institute and many of their students have secured jobs. This past fall I had the opportunity to meet two students during their visit to the US and listening to their personal stories of growth had assured me that The Akilah Institute is making a difference already and will continue to have an impact for the women of Rwanda for a long time to come.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

....watching potential students become successful and confident women.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I honestly can't think of one thing. The positive attitude and drive of this entire organization never ceases to impress me.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

I worked in the Tampa, Florida Akilah office as the Development Intern for the Fall of 2010. I worked with the Development Associate to plan and execute a nationwide fundraising tour spanning seven cities. With a matching donation, this "Metropolitan Safari" raised almost half a million dollars! The mission of Akilah is honorable and genuine as are the teachers, staff, executives, and co-founders behind the organization. I know I was helping to make a difference in the lives of young Rwandan women. I truly enjoyed my time at Akilah and I will be a supporter and donor for life.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I had the opportunity to visit the Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali Rwanda and meet all the young women enrolled. It was amazing to see the direct impact that Akilah's education and training have on the students. They are eager to learn and always have smiles on their faces. After speaking to several students I was able to see how these students had little hope for the future before they were enrolled at Akilah. Since attending Akilah the young women began to have a renewed hope for their future.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Increase video content and interactive experiences on the website so that donors and supporters can see and understand how their money and time are improving the lives of young Rwandan women and their families.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

After traveling to Rwanda in 2009, and witnessing firsthand the crucial role women play in the growth of this developing country, I was inspired to find an opportunity to work with an organization focused on improving the lives of Rwandan women through access to education and job skills. My experience with Akilah has been truly wonderful. After identifying a growing job sector (hospitality), Elizabeth and her team focused their efforts on providing girls with specific skills they can use to support themselves and their families, and contribute to one of the fastest growing economies in Africa. I served on a committee to host a fundraiser in New York City, which was part of the Metropolitan Safari tour they organized across the US this fall. Even though the Akilah team was not based here, they were extremely organized and communicated their goals to our committee effectively. The Akilah students who attended the event spoke eloquently about their experiences and were truly inspirational in their stories.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Speaking with Akilah students during their visit to NYC proved how exceptional the Akilah program truly is.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Judging from the high number of applications the Akilah Institute receives for each term, it's clearly generating a positive reputation in Rwanda. It would be wonderful to see the program expand to help more women, which clearly can only be made possible through increased funding. Perhaps finding a corporate partner would make this possible.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Akilah Institute is one of the most forward thinking vocational training schools for young women in Africa today. Their focus is for each young woman who graduates from Akilah to be eminently employable, thus raising the living standards of the graduates and their families and communities. Akilah also provides these young women with the tools to cope with emotional issues, as many were orphans from the Rwandan genocide, using meditation techniques and an openly expressive and nurturing environment. I have been delighted to participate in the creation and the support of Akilah Institute, as I feel that their educational and business model is sound and will produce results that are much needed.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

watching young women grow and blossom, and develop confidence they would never have had before as they understand that they are the next business and community leaders of their beloved Rwanda.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

Ask Akilah to change their website to the website that I helped design for them! I know that it may not be a priority, but it's really a better design overall.

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

1 people found this review helpful

Akilah Project is one of the most progressive non-profit organizations I have been blessed to be a part of in my college career. The drive of the Akilah organizers is much to be admired, and they consistently display true passion in all their fund-raising and awareness endeavors. Working along side this wonderful organization has given me the experience needed to one day create my own non-profit for where I am from, Nigeria. I still have a lot to learn, but I recognize that working with the Akilah women, has been the best place to start.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

The amount of money raised for Rwanda girls to go to schools and the cheerfulness and selflessness of the project organized to go against the many odds in making a trade school dream in Rwanda, after the genocide, a progressive reality.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I personally have admired the innovation of Project Akilah and would opt to not change anything really. I love the passion displayed by the organizers and feel it is a lovely trait that Akilah can boast about, its drive to reach goals, and its loving spirit to better the society of Rwanda.

Would you volunteer for this group again?

Definitely

For the time you spent, how much of an impact did you feel your work or activity had?

A lot

Did the organization use your time wisely?

Very Well

Would you recommend this group to a friend?

Definitely

Did your volunteer experience have an effect on you? (teaching you a new skill, or introducing new friends, etc.)

Absolutely, it gave me hope that their are still people out there who are passionate about creating Education for all people.

How did this volunteer experience make you feel?

That I could make a difference in the lives of all those around me!

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

Review from Guidestar
Rating: 5 stars  

Akilah holds a very special place in the hearts of our family. We visited Akilah in Kigali and became good friends with one of its founders, Elizabeth Davis who is an inspiration. Often non-profits take on the personalities of their leaders and that is true in many ways of Akilah. To meet Elizabeth Davis is to be caught up in a river of passion over the empowerment of women in a country uniquely dependent on the future success of its women. The realization that something monumental is happening at Akilah not just for its students but for the country permeates the zealous dedication of everyone who works there as well as the students who are privileged to attend Akilah. This is not just an African school that needs funds. This is a game changing institution for an entire generation of women and a country desperate for newly trained leaders and employees.

Our daughters attend a very privileged all-girls school outside of Philadelphia. Elizabeth has come to speak to the entire student body on several occasions, most recently with two Akilah students as part of the school's Metropolitan Safari. Closeness in age is all that young women need to develop an instant bond, but the disparity in life experience takes that bond to a different level that creates a broader perspective of the circumstances of women around the world. Thanks to those visits, a club has been formed at our daughters' school that is currently looking to help create Western internship opportunities for Akilah girls as well as other cross curricular projects that will further enhance the bonds between the two student bodies. So the ripples of Akilah are immense.

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I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

Our meetings and growing friendship with school leadership and the students. We have also found friends of ours in our community moved and determined to get involved to sponsor students at Akilah, Most importantly, our daughters will be forever changed by their interaction with Akilah and its leadership.

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

do nothing.

Review from Guidestar

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