On 10.11.12 the United Nation’s celebrated the first-ever International Day of the Girl and Akilah was proud to be a part of the worldwide festivities. International Day of the Girl was established to recognize the importance of investing in girls and raising awareness around the many challenges girls and young women face in accessing education and economic opportunity. Akilah has proudly partnered with 10×10, a global campaign to educate girls so they can break the cycle of poverty and create a ripple effect of change. On our campus in Kigali, Rwanda, Akilah hosted an open house where students gave speeches about the importance and impact of education in their own lives, held a debate competition, and watched 10x10s Girl Rising film.
International Day of the Girl spurred an international dialogue with organizations, individuals, and the media, bringing women and girl’s issues to the forefront of the conversation. Former First Lady of France Cecilia Attias wrote a piece for The Huffington Post in which she cited Akilah as an example for our work in empowering and educating young women!
In addition to Akilah’s on-campus open house, a few of our students were selected to participate in a national event at Kigali’s Serena Hotel. Akilah was joined by the Rwanda National Children’s Commission, the Imbuto Foundation, Plan International, Girl Hub Rwanda, and other organizations in a roundtable event that gathered girls from around the country to make their voices heard and develop a better understanding of the issues that they are facing today. Rwandan government officials were seated at each roundtable so that they could hear firsthand about the current challenges facing young Rwandan girls in order to better shape domestic policy around these particular concerns. Vice President of the Republic of Rwanda Parliament Jeanne d’Arc Gakuba was the Guest of Honor, and famed Rwandan singer Miss JoJo performed her inspirational hit single “Woman.”
Akilah looks forward to continuing its partnership with 10×10 and its initiative to further promote global support and resources for investment in girls and women. We are excited to celebrate this important day again next year. In the meantime, we reflect on a basic equation: Girls + Education = Empowerment!