2012 Metropolitan Safari Recap

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After 4 weeks and 4 cities, the 3rd Annual Metropolitan Safari tour has officially come to an end! The annual Metropolitan Safari tour is designed to raise support for Akilah’s Scholarship Fund. Donations to the Scholarship Fund directly benefit young women at Akilah, providing them with daily lunches, textbooks, educational materials and more. This year’s tour raised over $140,000 towards the Scholarship Fund! To find out more about past Metro Safari tours, click here.

Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn with Akilah CEO & Cofounder Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes presenting Akilah graduates Francine and Irene with the official Akilah Day plaque.

This year, 2 recent graduates, Francine Mugeni and Irene Iganbire, visited the U.S. for the first time to conduct a month long fundraising tour, where they traveled the East Coast and shared their experiences and dreams for the future with Akilah supporters.

They began their first trip to the states in Tampa, FL, where Akilah hosted its first event of 2012 with almost 200 guests in attendance at the Tampa Yacht Club. Tampa Mayor Bob Buckhorn came to meet the graduates and officially declared September 28th as Akilah Day in Tampa. Grace Nelson, wife of Senator Bill Nelson, also showed her support, attending the event as the guest of honor. While in Tampa, the graduates attended a lunch with Rotary International (you can watch their television debut on WFLA-TV here) and conducted several interviews with the local media (check out some of the coverage here!) Be sure to take a look at photos from the event!

Recent graduate Francine Mugeni addresses the crowd in Tampa.

Next, it was off to Boston where the young women had their first taste of winter weather. There, Francine and Irene addressed a group of 30 supporters, discussing the impact that Akilah has had on not only their lives but also the lives of young women across Rwanda.  Following Boston, Francine and Irene headed to the Big Apple for the 3rd stop on the tour. Among their favorite activities was watching the city lights in Time Square! While in New York, the graduates hosted an event for both new and old Akilah supporters at the 3 West Club in midtown Manhattan.

Recent graduate Irene Ingabire speaks in NYC.

A week later, Francine and Irene packed up for their last stop—Philadelphia. While in Philly, the two spoke with an intimate group of supporters at the Philadelphia Country Club. They ended their trip with an inspiring visit to The Agnes Irwin School, where local students have joined together to form an Akilah Club that not only helps with fundraising but also pairs Akilah students with pen pals at their own school. At this Philadelphia girls’ school, Irene and Francine had the opportunity to connect with American students about their experiences both inside and outside of the classroom, forming lasting friendship with Akilah Club members. To read more about their visit to The Agnes Irwin School, click here.

Thank you again to everyone who came out to show your support, and a special thanks to all those involved in planning and hosting these events. This year’s Metropolitan Safari was a huge success and we’re already looking forward to the 2013 Metropolitan Safari!

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