What's New http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org Updated daily to provide up-to-date information. Microsoft Alumni Foundation 2013 Integral Fellows Nomination: RGI's Kimberly Mecham - (August, 19 2013) RGI is so grateful for the support of our fabulous board member, Kimberly Mecham! Kimberly is a Microsoft Alumni Foundation 2013 Integral Fellows nominee. Please check out her nomination for her nonprofit work:   One afternoon, in the spring of 2008, two friends asked me to create a website for them.  They were preparing for a television interview to talk about their recently formed nonprofit organization, Rwanda Girls Initiative (RGI), and felt it was imperative to have a website for interested viewers to learn more about RGI.  I was thrilled to help the cause even though it meant learning how to build a website in five short days.   It didn’t take long for me to realize that RGI was my philanthropy calling.  Suzanne Sinegal McGi... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/81 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/81 Summer Greetings from RGI - (July, 31 2013) Happy Summer to all of you!  While our children are enjoying summer vacation, the girls at the Gashora Girls Academy in Rwanda are midway through their second term and studying harder than ever. It’s been quite a year so far!  GGA students admitted to the Yale Young Global Scholars summer program, a student selected for Clinton Global Initiative Scholarship through medical school…with each passing day and email lately, we've been tickled to read of the accolades bestowed upon many of our girls.   We believe in these girls, they are amazing!  We know that many of you do as well, so we are thrilled to share with you a few of their wonderful achievements.     Celeste and Faustine, two of our outstanding students, were accepted to t... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/80 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/80 Wharton Executive MBA Spotlight: Lindsay Beck - (July, 01 2013) After spending a week in Rwanda studying change leadership as part of Wharton's Executive MBA program, I serendipitously found myself touring the Gashora Girls Academy.  I loved the school immediately and was blown away by its accomplishments.  Having spent my entire career as an entrepreneur in the nonprofit arena I was also drawn to the story of its founders and thenormal growing pains that the school was experiencing.   Back in the States, I couldn’t get the school out of my head or my heart.  I sent an email to the address listed on the website – info@rwandagirlsinitiative.org.  To my surprise, I got a response almost immediately from Soozi and Shal.  A few emails and phone calls later, we had formed a... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/79 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/79 Center for Women and Democracy Visit GGA - (June, 24 2013) The US Ambassador, Donald Koran, and a group from the Center for Women and Democracy visited Gashora Girls Academy today.  The Northwest Literacy Foundation held a book drive in Seattle, Washington and the group from the Center for Women and Democracy traveled from Washington state to Rwanda to deliver the books to GGA.  The girls are thrilled to have new books in the library at GGA!  Rwanda Girls Initiative is so thankful to the Northwest Literacy Foundation for collecting so many wonderful books for the library at GGA.   To see more photos of the US Ambassador and Center for Women and Democracy's visit to GGA, please visit Rwanda Girls Initiative's Facebook page. ... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/82 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/82 The Global Search for Education: Girls - (March, 07 2013) We would like to share this great article, written by C.M. Rubin, about girls education and the movie coming out today called Girl Rising.  It's a good reminder of why we're doing what we do!  Educating girls is the answer to so many challenges.  An excerpt is below and the full article can be read here: "The Global Search for Education: Girls"   "My argument in favor of educating girls is more practical. We should do it because it is an incredibly powerful tool for ending global poverty." -- Richard Robbins   Girl Rising is the feature film to be released on March 7th, which tells the unforgettable stories of nine real and remarkable girls from Peru, Haiti, Egypt, Sierra Leone, Afghanistan, Ethi... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/78 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/78 General Mills Donates $80,000 to the Scholarship Fund at Gashora Girls Academy - (February, 27 2013) General Mills has donated $80,000 to the scholarship fund at Gashora Girls Academy!  What an incredible support this is for Rwanda Girls Initiative.  General Mills is promoting Rwanda Girls Initiative on Yellow Box Cheerios and Fruit by the Foot Roll-Ups throughout Costco warehouses nationwide.   The scholarship fund at Gashora Girls Academy helps to cover the cost of tuition, housing, meals and healthcare for some of our most vulnerable students. Through this fund we were able to offer full and partial scholarships to 85% of our students last year. RGI is planning to continue its scholarship program so it can remove the barriers to access for even more of Rwanda’s promising female students over the next three years while the school ... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/77 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/77 SIF Grants RGI $15,000 at the Women in the World Breakfast - (February, 06 2013)   Over 300 women leaders from philanthropy, business, media, academia, and the nonprofit sector gathered on December 7 at the third annual Women in the World Breakfast, hosted by the Seattle International Foundation (SIF), to discuss the importance of investing in women and girls and celebrate Washington state’s commitment to global women’s issues.  SIF awarded a grant of $15,000 to Rwanda Girls Initiative under its Global Program to support local organizations working to alleviate global poverty and improve the lives of women and girls.  This grant will support RGI’s investment in training and developing Rwandan teachers and administrators at the Gashora Girls Academy.     In Rwanda, 90% of children are enrolled in primary sch... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/76 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/76 Film Short: "Educating Girls Changes Everything" - (November, 08 2012) We are so excited to share with you our film short "Educating Girls Changes Everything" by National Geographic Filmmaker Mick Davie. The film provides a good picture of life at the Gashora Girls Academy and documents the story of one student's admission to the school. Students voice why their education at GGA is so important and discuss their dreams for the future. Thank you to the Harbers Family Foundation for making this film possible.  Photograph: Film Short posted on YouTube   ... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/75 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/75 Reasons to Celebrate International Day of the Girl - (October, 11 2012) A PERFECT 800 on the math portion of the SAT?? Are you kidding me?  For any student that would be a feat, but for a 17 year old girl from Rwanda to achieve this in a second language with limited school resources at her schools as she grew up is extraordinary!  Chartine, one of our students at GGA, is the perfect example of how the girls take the opportunities provided at the school and excel beyond our wildest expectations.  Chartine is 17 years old and dreams of going to college so she can work toward the development of her country. She has a wonderful sense of humor, with a lively expression always on her face.  Her favorite subject is math (clearly!),  her favorite club is leadership and her classmates adore her.  She told us “I also have this... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/74 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/74 "Witness and Celeste's Excellent Adventure" by Peter Thorp - (October, 11 2012) Imagine the courage it took our two Senior 5 representatives to get on that plane headed to the USA on August 9th. Neither Witness nor Celeste had ever been out of Rwanda, let alone on a plane. So off they went, with their parents’ blessings and, we hoped, thorough directions about how to navigate the Amsterdam airport where they would have to change planes for their final leg to Boston.   Samantha Werme, our fantastic volunteer at GGAST this year, and I were waiting for them at Logan. We assumed that all had gone well, but after about 250 people had cleared customs and no sign of our Gashora girls, we got a bit anxious. But finally they were were—obviously tired, but pretty proud of themselves for having traveled half-way around the world by themselves. An... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/73 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/73 Volunteer Spotlight: Sam Werme - (October, 09 2012) With one month remaining in the academic year, I reflect back on my last ten months at GGAST and am overcome with the settling sense of gratitude.  Gratitude for the opportunity to leave everything I have ever known and experience something new, gratitude to be learning and growing within a new life and culture, but most importantly the gratitude to be a part of something as significant and special as what GGAST is offering the young women of this world.    For many of you reading, you have experienced the breathtaking beauty that surrounds you upon traveling through Rwanda.  For those who have never travelled to Rwanda, let me tell you first hand, it is a lovely country.  Rwanda is known for its lush, green, rolling hills, colorful sunrises and sun... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/72 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/72 President Kagame Visits Gashora Girls Academy - (July, 05 2012) President Kagame and the First Lady of Rwanda visited Gashora Girls Academy this week!  President Kagame urged students to focus on their education in order to become successful in life and significantly contribute to the development of Rwanda. An excerpt is below and the full article can be read here: “Kagame Visits Gashora Girls School.”   “As young people, you must seize this opportunity of education, hold it firmly and do not let it go. Although there will be very many distractions, keep your eyes on the prize. Identify something that you believe is important for you and focus on it until you become who you want to be,” Kagame said.   The President expressed gratitude to the founders of Gashora Girls Academy and acknowledged ... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/71 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/71 Three GGA Students Admitted to African Leadership Academy! - (June, 15 2012) Screaming, hugs, cheers and tears of joy today upon the news that three of our girls have been admitted to the African Leadership Academy (ALA).  The ALA is a highly regarded two year school located in South Africa that seeks to transform Africa by identifying, developing, and connecting the next generation of African leaders.  They comb Africa for youth who show the spark of initiative; who see what can be and strive to make it so. Working with a variety of organizations from across the continent - government ministries, NGOs, charities and multi-national corporations, ALA interviews youth in 48 African countries and selects 100 students to attend each year.    African Leadership Academy is transforming Africa by developing and supporting future generat... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/70 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/70 Rwanda's Healing Journey - (May, 07 2012) Rwanda Girls Initiative and the Gashora Girls Academy were highlighted yesterday in an article about Rwanda written by the Desmond Tutu Peace Foundation.  An excerpt is below and the full article can be read here: "Rwanda's Healing Journey."   Rwanda, Africa’s most densely populated country (over 11 million people living in an area slightly smaller than the state of Maryland), is continuing a long journey to healing the scars left by one of the worst genocides in modern history. Rwanda faces many challenges. It is a poor rural country with about 90% of the population engaged in mainly subsistence agriculture as well as some mineral and agro-processing. The population is very youngwith over 42% of its citizens under the ... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/69 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/69 Gashora Girls Academy Featured on The Motley Fool - (April, 04 2012) The Gashora Girls Academy was featured today in a piece, written by Nick Slepko, for The Motley Fool.  There are so many wonderful things going on in the country of Rwanda.  An excerpt is below and the full article can be read here: "Costco in the Mist: Jim Sinegal on Investing in Rwanda."   Jim Sinegal: So that’s how the relationship has developed, and the school is now open – and I have to tell you that the school exceeded all my expectations.   Nick Slepko: What did you expect?   Jim Sinegal: Well, I don’t know. I think I expected nothing quite as professional as it turned out. [laughs] The two women who did this, my daughter and her partner in this school are both married and my daughter has three children ... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/68 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/68 Buildipedia.com Article Featuring Gashora Girls Academy - (April, 02 2012) The Gashora Girls Academy is featured in an article on Buildipedia.com today!  Check out how MulvannyG2 Architecture designs and helps us build a self-sustaining school.  An excerpt is below and the full article can be read here: "MulvannyG2 Architecture Designs Self-Sustaining Gashora Girls Academy in Rwanda."   In 2008, RGI partnered with MulvannyG2 Architecture on a pro bono basis and began the process of designing, developing, and building an all-girls boarding school that would provide students with a high-quality education, nutritious meals, emotional support, access to healthcare, and a supportive learning environment to ensure their future success.   “MulvannyG2 was honored to partner with RGI on this project and... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/67 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/67 SeeYourImpact - Become a Champion for Girls Education! - (March, 13 2012) Thank you to our supporters for your continued interest in raising money for Rwanda Girls Initiative!  We are so excited to share with you that today we launched a new savvy way for you to leverage your own generosity with that of others.  Through our partnership with SeeYourImpact, it is easy to set-up a fundraising campaign to become a Champion for girls education.  The cost of sponsorship is $2,000 per girl per school year.  Sponsorship of a girl at GGA helps to cover the cost of her school supplies, uniform, tuition, housing, meals, health and hygiene supplies.  Now you can become a Champion by setting up a campaign page with the goal of sponsoring one girl.  Send your campaign page to your network of friends and encourage them to d... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/66 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/66 Reflections from an American Student's Visit at Gashora Girls Academy - (March, 12 2012) The incredible students at Gashora Girls Academy are an inspiration for young women worldwide. In a lesson on self-empowerment, the girls were asked to cite something about themselves they admired. In America, students would rather call themselves too fat, too skinny, too tall, too short, too this or that, before admitting something they admire about themselves. At GGA, however, each girl stated confidently that she loved her “big butt,” her “gap-tooth,” her “sarcastic sense of humor” or her height of 6’3”. Having insecurities doesn’t make sense to these girls; they don’t believe in wasting time being self-conscious about what makes them unique. Instead, their focus is on their bright futures. When given the opportunity, the gi... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/65 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/65 Volunteer Spotlight: Jenn Larr - (March, 08 2012) I came to the Gashora Girls Academy in January 2011 as a Peace Corps Volunteer, but it wasn’t my first time working with the school. Before its construction was finished, I met Peter Thorp when my Program Director sent out an e-mail about a summer break tutoring program for English in the South Eastern village of Gashora. The program was free and exclusively for girls. I was always very interested in girls’ empowerment in Rwanda, so I jumped at the chance to make myself useful. After a few of the afternoon sessions I sat down with Peter and he began telling me more about the Academy they were building--an all-girls school for science and technology that drew talented students from all over Rwanda, to study with the highest caliber of resources available, and ultimately proce... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/64 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/64 Gashora Girls Academy 2012 School Year Begins! - (March, 08 2012) Happy International Women’s Day! While there are still many challenges and injustices for women around the globe, there are also wonderful things happening and progress that should be celebrated. There is positive momentum and an increase in awareness of the issues the affect women and girls. There is a growing realization that addressing these challenges and investing in women is the most powerful tool we have to break the cycle of poverty. It seems fitting on this day that we share our own story of hope and progress at Gashora Girls Academy, as we just returned from a recent trip that was timed with the start of the second year of school. We were so excited to welcome back the Senior 5 students for their second year and eagerly anticipated the arrival of the new class of ex... http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/63 http://www.rwandagirlsinitiative.org/article/article_detail/63