Akilah maiden graduates assured of jobs

  • By Maria Kaitesi
  • August 18, 2012
The First Lady, Jeannette Kagame, with the Akilah’s maiden graduates yesterday. The New Times / Timothy Kisambira.

Students at Akilah Institute for Women, yesterday, graduated with assurance of employment after completing a two-year programme in hospitality management.

Lisa M. Martilotta, the Executive Director of the Institute, said all their students who graduated yesterday had jobs waiting for them.

She, however, regretted that since its establishment three years ago, the institute is yet to be fully accredited by the Ministry of Education.

The First Lady Jeannette Kagame graced the ceremony.

At the graduation, Dr Vincent Biruta, the Minister of Education, applauded Akilah for empowering Rwandan women.

Though Rwanda is doing great in empowering women, he said, more needs to be done as more women are needed in other professions.

“Educating women transforms not only their lives, but families, the community and the whole nation. Part of our Vision 2020 is focused on advancing women. The programmes at Akilah are tailored to meet these needs,” Biruta said.

He stated that tourism and hospitality are Rwanda’s fastest growing sector in the economy, adding that tourism services are a critical component in developing the economy.

He called on the students who graduated to invest in others’ education.

Anita Umutoni, 24 is one of the students that graduated and she has already started reaping big from the skills she received.

Together with a classmate, Florence Mukundwa, and a capital of Rwf 50,000, they joined hands to start handcraft bags business made out of African fabric.

Today, they expanded to interior design, and clothing among others with clients in the USA and other parts of the world.

Aniflo Standards, as they call their business, employs four other. Staff and within one year of operation, their capital has accumulated to one million Rwandan francs.

The institute empowers young women in East Africa to transform their lives by equipping them with skills, knowledge and confidence to become leaders and entrepreneurs.

Akilah has established a relationship with Marriott Hotel International that has a chain of hotels all over the world and is also building another in Kigali.

“15 of the students are taking on Marriott employment positions in Dubai and Doha (Middle East) for a period of 12 months then they will come back here as supervisors in the Kigali Marriott Hotel. It’s very important for the students to also take ownership of their future and career, so we place a lot of emphasis on that as well,” Martilotta said.

Some of their other students are working with Serena Hotel, Rwanda Air, Hotel Diplomat, Heaven Restaurant and Lemigo Hotels among others.

She stated that Akilah has forged close relationship with the private sector for the last three years and have made strong partnerships which are now paying off in terms of employment.

The Institute is also setting up another campus in Bugesera that will accommodate around 60 students in the first year.

Contact email: maria.kaitesi[at]


Allow me space to thank Mme Janet Kagame. Seeing her here tells me that she has been behind Akila or she just loves its cause. Either way her devotion to women, girl and family causes has touched the hearts of very very many individuals and families. I know neighbours of mine whose single daughter benefitted from her initiatives and now a whole family is on its way out of poverty and domestic strife, just because of this girl's leadership. Imana yonyine izaguhembe, yo yakuragije uwo mutima. Tazongereho "Barakagwira" ku mazina yawe, maze abameze nkawe bazabe benshi. Thank you.

13:52:16 Saturday 18th, August 2012 REMERA - RWEGO

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The Akilah Institute, founded by Elizabeth Dearborn-Hughes and Dave Huges, has proved itself as a place of advancement and renewal. These young women will have an amazing impact upon the world. Thank you to Elizabeth, Dave, President and Mrs. Kagame and all Akilah supporters around the world. You have truly and positively impacted the future of many. Congratulations!

20:57:10 Wednesday 29th, August 2012 Tampa, Florida USA - Lisa Shasteen, Former Akilah Board Chair

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