“I am the 10th born in the family of 11; my family couldn’t support all of us so I had to drop out of school after my secondary education. I sat home for two years with no hope of ever furthering my education. But I am happy that I now have hope for a bright future with help from Akhilah because am not only graduating from this institute but has also helped me find a job.”
Those are the words of Louise Mutoni, the best student in Hospitality Management and Leadership at Akilah Institute for Women.
Mutoni narrated her experience during the institute’s second graduation in Kigali on Friday. She said she never imagined attending university or even working with an international hotel outside the country.
“While growing up. I desired to be an air hostess, but it was just a dream because I didn’t have hope to achieve that, but now Akilah has opened my doors as I will be working in Marriot International in Doha where I will be going in January.”
Fifty six young women graduated in Hospitality Management and Leadership
“The 56 young ladies graduating from Akilah this day have worked hard to complete a very intense and rigorous program that equipped them with skills and professional knowledge necessary for success in Rwanda’s increasingly sophisticated service and hospitality industry,” says Alaine Kabanda, Akilah’s Country Director.
The graduation ceremony was also graced by Swanee Hunt, a former U.S Ambassador and currently a Harvard professor.
She urged them not only to focus on being equal with men but rather focus on what is key in growth and development.
“A woman who thinks of being equal to a man lacks ambition because she can even do better than them. When you empower women you are able to use the full population, it’s just wrong to think that you can be a great country and only use a certain percentage of your population. With women in addition bring certain skills because they have different experiences and manners often to bring people together and that is what this country is all about.” Ambassador Hunt elaborated
Akilah graduates have gone on to work for major international firms while others have joined businesses in Rwanda or launched their own ventures.
Florence Mukundwa of the 2012 class is among the many former students who started her own design business using African fabrics and is currently employing three women from her village.