Katie’s “pay it forward” pick is the Akilah Institute for Women is a women’s college with campuses in Rwanda and Burundi and headquarters in NYC.
By providing low income women with access to affordable, market-relevant education, industry-specific skills and job placement services, Akilah prepares students for careers in the booming private sector economy of East Africa, which faces a shortage of qualified employees. In a region with high underemployment, where 85% of women still work in subsistence agriculture (earning less than $2 per day), and just 1% of the population enters university (and less than 1/3 of students are female), access to education is the tool that empowers women to build their own professional identity, become leaders, and drastically improve the standard of living for themselves and their families. Akilah graduates, on average, earn five times the national average income, and 1/3 are the heads of their households.
“Around the world, women are denied access to educational opportunities that I spent most of my life taking entirely for granted, limiting their personal autonomy and ability to to take control of their health, wellbeing, finances, and future. Educating women and girls has been proven to be the single most effective way that a developing region can improve the lives and safety of individuals, families, and the community at large. But worldwide, women — especially those from low income backgrounds — face unique challenges and cultural barriers that keep them out of professional spheres. I love how Akilah, in addition to providing practical on-the-job skills, focuses on developing students’ abilities in critical thinking, confidence, leadership and team building. A friend of mine works for this great organization and so I’ve gotten to hear first hand how dedicated they are to creating an educational model that does right by its students and continues to meet its own high expectations.”
For more information, visit www.akilahinstitute.org.
Every holiday season, Appaman employees each get to select a charity of their choice to receive a donation. View all of 2014?s Five Weeks of Giving selections here.