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February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

The Akilah Institute has proven to be a powerful resource for empowering young women who without this opportunity may never have the chance to see their dreams come true or to continue to have everlasting hope. I have been involved with The Akilah Institute for just over a year. Helping these women and contributing to their education has completely changed my life. I know that if you start to become involved it will change yours too!

The Great!

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

I plan to expierence the results by visiting the Akilah Institute

Ways to make it better...

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

The one change that would benefit The Akilah Institute would be to expand our donor base.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

I was able to organize a "lunch & learn" get-together for the women in my church and a local women's interfaith group, Bridge Builders. The young woman who founded the Akilah Institute and her two students were so impressive - intelligent, poised, articulate about the mission and so friendly. We were honored to be a host group and have the privilege of meeting these outstanding young women, who are literally changing the world for other women in a country that is still recovering from many wounds and scars. The Akilah Institute is doing work many of us wish we could do in person. Wonderful organization!

The Great!

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

Tampa, FL

Ways to make it better...

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

wish there were more like it.

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

I was able to use what little talent I have to fund raise for Akilah. On Feb 9th, 2011, the Tampa Improv provided a wonderful venue where I, and fellow comedians, could tell jokes for an hour and a half. We kept the ticket price low ($10) in the hopes of gaining a bigger audience. The bigger the audience, the more ears that get to hear about this great charity. We were able to raise a little over a grand, but the awareness factor of the show may bring in greater returns for Akilah. The Akilah staff was very helpful and didn't have any directives - they just let us do our thing.

The Great!

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

fund raising efforts

Ways to make it better...

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

(no comment)

February 28, 2011

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February 28, 2011

I had an absolutely wonderful experience working with Project Akilah. Being referred to the organization by a friend I had done charity work with in the past, I knew it would be an extremely fulfilling endeavor! However, I was not prepared to be as moved as I was at the event. Upon hearing the girls speak, and hearing their stories, and witnessing their dedication to bettering themselves and their country -- I was literally moved to tears!

It is a fabulous project - as women should feel empowered/be given opportunities everywhere -and I plan to help out Akilah in the future!

The Great!

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

Nyc! Tons of people came out to support the event

Ways to make it better...

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

I would love to get more people involved --- the more focused on this cause, the more girls we can help!

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

I had an absolutely wonderful experience working with Project Akilah. Being referred to the organization by a friend I had done charity work with in the past, I knew it would be an extremely fulfilling endeavor! However, I was not prepared to be as moved as I was at the event. Upon hearing the girls speak, and hearing their stories, and witnessing their dedication to bettering themselves and their country -- I was literally moved to tears!

It is a fabulous project - as women should feel empowered/be given opportunities everywhere -and I plan to help out Akilah in the future!

The Great!

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

Nyc! Tons of people came out to support the event

Ways to make it better...

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

I would love to get more people involved --- the more focused on this cause, the more girls we can help!

February 28, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 28, 2011

I volunteered with an Akilhah fundraiser in Washington, DC. Not only is the Akilah staff motivated, but genuinely inversted in their work in Rwanda. It is inspiring to watch their work being built from scratch, and the direct impact they have had on the women they teach.

We were able to
hear the stories of two women who graduated from the institute, and how their lives have been positively impacted from this opportunity. The fact that the NGO operates with such a small overhead and staff, and is still able to fulfill thier vision, speaks to the character, passion, and integrity of this group of women.

The Great!

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

the lives of my own friends who work for Akilah. They are inspiring and dedicated young professionals.

Ways to make it better...

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

Work on marketing beyond the family/friend connections.

February 27, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 27, 2011

The Akilah Institute, through the hard work, dedication and commitment of many and leadership of Elizabeth Dearborn Davis, is transforming lives of women not only in Rwanda but throughout the globe. Although the direct impact may be felt by the young women who complete the program in Rwanda, these young women touch the lives of all those they meet. The model that Elizabeth and the team have created and operationalized can be leveraged throughout the world. The program's focus on education, mentoring, leadership and self esteem will continue to drive the personal successes and economic growth in the region. I had the great pleasure and honor of meeting Elizabeth and several members of her team through one of her professors at Vanderbilt. Discovering that she was from Tampa added to the special feeling of contributing through our community. I have since engaged several other colleagues to commit to giving and helping Akilah grow. I am thrilled to help the team with the 2011 Campaign and look forward to another exciting year.
Dr. Mary Kay Vona

The Great!

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

Observed the students during their tour in the US. They were confident, focused and professional and so appreciative of The Akilah Institute and its contributions to their growth and development.

Ways to make it better...

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

Continue to engage the business community and advance public relations contacts.

February 26, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 26, 2011

"Working in the field of international development, one of the greatest challenges is instituting projects that are not only viable in the short-term, but sustainable in the long-term. Akilah has managed to create a trajectory that accounts for the triple bottom line of environmental, social as well as financial sustainability, grown from and managed in a distinctly Rwandan context. Akilah's holistic approach on cultivating leaders and managers far surpasses most models which tend to focus on business development or access to finance alone. They are preparing a class of economic and social drivers, instead of mere aid-recipients. They are investing in long-term models for sustainable resource management and revenue-generation, instead of relying on extended donor support.

Tourism and hospitality are quickly emerging as core sectors in emerging economies around the globe, with a pronounced presence in oil-rich, post-conflict countries. Positive, localized and strategic options for developing these sectors in an equitable way will become critical in the next few years. The Akilah Institute for Women is well ahead of the curve in anticipating this momentum and has a long road of opportunity ahead."

The Great!

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

In meeting the first group of students to break ground at Akilah after having been present for Akilah's much earlier startup phase, before they even had a campus.

Ways to make it better...

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

Create a train-the-trainers program for others imagining similar models for education, leadership-development and value-chain inclusion.

February 25, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 25, 2011

I was curious to find a nonprofit based in Tampa, Florida that met women needs at a grassroots level that were hiring and this is how I met "Akilah"...which means wisdom in Swahili and embodies the gift that the founding family envisioned. I was impressed that they followed their dreams and fears to help others from a "different" world. That young spirit of urgency and passion moves me. the young organization has an impressive website, vivid pictures and plans for the future boarding school, teaming with Kigali's education and political figures. Videos of the students being accepted and the CEO speaking Kinyarwanda (impressive). Overall, they found a niche to teach women practical skills of a rapid economic sector, tourism, to empower women financially. Which is brilliant!


As a volunteer in Tampa, I tried to link the Akilah to STAND & African students at University of South Florida in Tampa to create awareness, collaboration and volunteerism...
We've assisted in fund raising event (which was a huge success, well managed), collecting books for a new library, Akilah students met and spoke with USF students, documentary showing about Rwanda's genocide and potential partnership with USF Holocaust and a Genocide Center.

I've met the young founders and the Tampa family, who are quite modestly grandiose. I feel a true sense of sincerity and compassion. From the inclusion of important events to the simple hand written thank you cards in the mail.

The students I got to meet via video from website or in person are truly sweet, they made me feel warm. I knew that any little help I have given to Akilah was indirectly given to me, because I saw myself in the playful laughter of the young women and their hopeful eyes for a limitless future. That gift is what we all want, to know the sky is not even the limit!

Thank you Akilah for helping our sisters around the world.

God Bless you as you expand.

You ROCK!

The Great!

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

Seeing them raise and get matched for thousands of dollars for their expanding student body and campus through hard work.

Ways to make it better...

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

Include more passionate African natives in Tampa from my naive perspective.

February 24, 2011

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Review from Guidestar
February 24, 2011

I have a personal connection to Rwanda and a fondness for this country that went through one of the most brutal events in the history of humankind, the 1994 genocide. I literally "stumbled" upon The Akilah project and was awed by its mission and authentic commitment to improving the lives of young women by investing in them instead of providing hands out or further 'victimizing' them. I admire the vision of the founders and the tenacity of Akilah Team to ensure young women in Rwanda are in a position to build a better future for themselves and for their country. Akilah should stay focused on this mission. Too many projects in emerging economies and less developed countries expand once they do well and take on too much. The learning environment created by Akilah in Rwanda not only imparts education but, most importantly, teaches young women to be proud of what they accomplish and who they are. This is about dignity and self esteem, attributes that go a long way in promoting the rights of women. Another important achievement of Akilah is its capacity to bridge cultural gaps and bring the people of the US closer to the reality of Rwanda. I helped out during their recent "Urban Safari" across the US to raise money for student scholarships and was moved by the impact this project is having on helping American re-frame the post genocide narrative of Rwanda. it is important to let people know what is good that is coming out of this country now and what the young generation is doing to move on. I commend Akilah for its vision, focus and commitment to the young women of Rwanda.

The Great!

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

I have seen what Akilah does and I know Rwanda well. I have worked in Rwanda and in international development for many years. This project is investing in the people through education that is relevant and of high standards.

Ways to make it better...

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

Keep on doing what you do. Stay focused and don't let inevitable challenges deter you!

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