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The ABARI COLLECTIVE, a RICHARD’S RWANDA initiative has been investing in Rwandan girls' education since 2006, as the optimal way to create hope for a better future and nurture a community. Richard’s Rwanda has provided primary and secondary scholarships for over 85 girls.

The Abari Collective is an entrepreneurship jewelry project that enables dignified employment for Rwandan young women in the Bugesera District.

The Abari Collective empowers through four priority programs: Vocational training (Jewelry Making), ICT, Entrepreneurship, and Communications skills (English especially). A combination of facilitated learning sessions allows the women to learn business and English language skills to become creative entrepreneurs. The Abari Collective is an ethically sourced East African jewelry product that will break into new market segments and generate stable long term income for the artists with creative marketing campaigns.  

We will empower the Richard’s Rwanda young women to become business savvy, creative entrepreneurs and create role models for the younger girls in their community. We believe in the potential to transform Rwandan young women lives by enhancing their decision-making power and knowledge of business and entrepreneurship.

I am sending my respect and admiration for all girls around the world who are united in a common bond of optimism, education and a lifelong pursuit of achieving your fullest potential.
— Melinda Gates
 
 
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Advisory Board


Advisory Board


Lori Markowitz, MPA Lori is the Board Chair of Richard’s The Abari Collective, and its sister non-profit, Richard’s Rwanda. Lori holds 18 years of NGO experience including designing and implementing international cross-cultural exchange programs with students from the Middle East and Africa. She has worked to strengthen economic and educational opportunities for the Richard’s Rwanda girls since 2006. She looks forward to empowering these young women to be business savvy, creative artists and role models to the younger girls in the Bugesera District. Lori says, “if you educate a girl, you educate the community”.

Lori Markowitz, MPA

Lori is the Board Chair of Richard’s The Abari Collective, and its sister non-profit, Richard’s Rwanda. Lori holds 18 years of NGO experience including designing and implementing international cross-cultural exchange programs with students from the Middle East and Africa. She has worked to strengthen economic and educational opportunities for the Richard’s Rwanda girls since 2006. She looks forward to empowering these young women to be business savvy, creative artists and role models to the younger girls in the Bugesera District. Lori says, “if you educate a girl, you educate the community”.

Emily Neilson Emily has been an active volunteer through teaching and social service organizations for 18 years, ten of which she has advised Richard’s Rwanda’s youth board. Currently, Emily is the secretary of the Abari Collective advisory board, and works to facilitate service trips to Rwanda. Emily’s passion for participating in the Abari Collective is aligned and invigorated by the enthusiasm of long time friend Lori, and her daughter Ellie. Together since 2006, they have supported girls who have suffered as a result of the Rwandan genocide.

Emily Neilson

Emily has been an active volunteer through teaching and social service organizations for 18 years, ten of which she has advised Richard’s Rwanda’s youth board. Currently, Emily is the secretary of the Abari Collective advisory board, and works to facilitate service trips to Rwanda. Emily’s passion for participating in the Abari Collective is aligned and invigorated by the enthusiasm of long time friend Lori, and her daughter Ellie. Together since 2006, they have supported girls who have suffered as a result of the Rwandan genocide.

Christina Dawson Christina has been an active supporter of several local community non-profits while also having a keen interest in global development efforts for many years. She believes that educating and empowering young women is critical to improving the economic prospects of a society. Her involvement in the Abari Collective stems from these beliefs, together with a 2016 trip to Rwanda, and her 20-year friendship with Lori. She hopes to contribute by helping in the strategic planning process, the funding effort, and also in the design/aesthetic aspect of the jewelry project.  

Christina Dawson

Christina has been an active supporter of several local community non-profits while also having a keen interest in global development efforts for many years. She believes that educating and empowering young women is critical to improving the economic prospects of a society. Her involvement in the Abari Collective stems from these beliefs, together with a 2016 trip to Rwanda, and her 20-year friendship with Lori. She hopes to contribute by helping in the strategic planning process, the funding effort, and also in the design/aesthetic aspect of the jewelry project.  

Lisa Kartiganer Lisa Kartiganer has worked in social services for the past 23 years, focusing on healthcare for underserved populations.  Lisa received a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and is a Licensed Social Worker. She is interested in addressing the underutilized potential of women around the world and supporting their ability to find sustainable work. Originally introduced to Abari and their work in Rwanda by her daughter, Lisa became interested in continuing the work of empowering young women through education and meaningful work.

Lisa Kartiganer

Lisa Kartiganer has worked in social services for the past 23 years, focusing on healthcare for underserved populations.  Lisa received a master’s degree in social work from Columbia University and is a Licensed Social Worker. She is interested in addressing the underutilized potential of women around the world and supporting their ability to find sustainable work. Originally introduced to Abari and their work in Rwanda by her daughter, Lisa became interested in continuing the work of empowering young women through education and meaningful work.

Molly Halahan Molly is a recent graduate from Indiana University, where she studied marketing and corporate innovation. She now resides in Seattle, WA as a Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft. Molly is apart of the Abari Collective because she has a passion for using her business skills to enable sustainable economic growth to populations who have a lack of resources and infrastructure. She is inspired by the opportunity to enable the young Rwandan women to become independent and creative female entrepreneurs to improve their lives.

Molly Halahan

Molly is a recent graduate from Indiana University, where she studied marketing and corporate innovation. She now resides in Seattle, WA as a Product Marketing Manager for Microsoft. Molly is apart of the Abari Collective because she has a passion for using her business skills to enable sustainable economic growth to populations who have a lack of resources and infrastructure. She is inspired by the opportunity to enable the young Rwandan women to become independent and creative female entrepreneurs to improve their lives.

 
Ailey Hughes Ailey Hughes is a gender, land tenure, and natural resources consultant with extensive experience in Rwanda. As a committed feminist, Ailey believes that Abari Collective empowers women and girls in Rwanda to become successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and participants in the local economy.

Ailey Hughes

Ailey Hughes is a gender, land tenure, and natural resources consultant with extensive experience in Rwanda. As a committed feminist, Ailey believes that Abari Collective empowers women and girls in Rwanda to become successful entrepreneurs, business owners, and participants in the local economy.

Leslie Massicotte Leslie is a native of Indianapolis, has a BA in Peace Studies from Earlham College and a lifelong connection to Rwanda.  She studied peace building and reconciliation in Rwanda as a student in 2013 and moved to Kigali, Rwanda with her husband in August 2017 to pursue her passions of women’s empowerment and health education in post-conflict contexts. She is excited to join the Abari Collective team as the Operations Manager and promote women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship through this new initiative.

Leslie Massicotte

Leslie is a native of Indianapolis, has a BA in Peace Studies from Earlham College and a lifelong connection to Rwanda.  She studied peace building and reconciliation in Rwanda as a student in 2013 and moved to Kigali, Rwanda with her husband in August 2017 to pursue her passions of women’s empowerment and health education in post-conflict contexts. She is excited to join the Abari Collective team as the Operations Manager and promote women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship through this new initiative.

Terri Danielson  Terri originally became engaged with Richard’s Rwanda through her daughter’s involvement in 2011.  She was moved by the impact the organization and her experience with the Rwandan girls had in shaping her daughter’s mindset and desire to help others.  Terri believes that education and skills development are critical to providing hope and opportunities to girls less fortunate, allowing them to become successful in Rwanda.  She hopes to use her professional skills to help raise funds and participate in strategic planning for the Abari Collective.

Terri Danielson

 Terri originally became engaged with Richard’s Rwanda through her daughter’s involvement in 2011.  She was moved by the impact the organization and her experience with the Rwandan girls had in shaping her daughter’s mindset and desire to help others.  Terri believes that education and skills development are critical to providing hope and opportunities to girls less fortunate, allowing them to become successful in Rwanda.  She hopes to use her professional skills to help raise funds and participate in strategic planning for the Abari Collective.

 
Abra Gibbons Abra is passionate about helping women and children in developing countries have access to good education, healthcare and clean water. Abra offers an extensive experience in sales, marketing and management in the technology industry, and holds an MBA from the University of Iowa and a BA in International Relations from the University of Michigan. Abra currently contributes to Abari by offering financial and business strategy advice.

Abra Gibbons

Abra is passionate about helping women and children in developing countries have access to good education, healthcare and clean water. Abra offers an extensive experience in sales, marketing and management in the technology industry, and holds an MBA from the University of Iowa and a BA in International Relations from the University of Michigan. Abra currently contributes to Abari by offering financial and business strategy advice.

Jaime Rawding Jamie contributes to the Abari Collective as a jewelry consultant, where her experience as a metalsmith began at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia in 1986. She was very fortunate to work as an apprentice with three different artists in New York City from 1988 to 1991 before launching her own line of jewelry. Jamie sees the ability to help others as a privilege and recognizes that we all as individuals have so much to learn from each other, is a gift.

Jaime Rawding

Jamie contributes to the Abari Collective as a jewelry consultant, where her experience as a metalsmith began at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria, Virginia in 1986. She was very fortunate to work as an apprentice with three different artists in New York City from 1988 to 1991 before launching her own line of jewelry. Jamie sees the ability to help others as a privilege and recognizes that we all as individuals have so much to learn from each other, is a gift.

 
Tara Sullivan Tara is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who joined the Abari Collective board after moving to Seattle in the summer of 2017. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Tara taught and led educational projects in a rural village of Rwanda for two years.  She is passionate about women's empowerment and local community development.  Tara is excited to be supporting young women in Rwanda to gain hard skills that will continue to serve them and their entire community.

Tara Sullivan

Tara is a Returned Peace Corps Volunteer who joined the Abari Collective board after moving to Seattle in the summer of 2017. As a Peace Corps Volunteer, Tara taught and led educational projects in a rural village of Rwanda for two years.  She is passionate about women's empowerment and local community development.  Tara is excited to be supporting young women in Rwanda to gain hard skills that will continue to serve them and their entire community.

Kelsey Stanton Kelsey is a recent graduate from the University of Virginia where studied Economics and is now a financial analyst at Microsoft. She joined the Abari Collective because she is passionate about improving the social and economic mobility of women everywhere. She hopes to bring her financial and professional skills to the Abari Collective advisory board to empower the women in the Bugesera District to be financially stable and independent.

Kelsey Stanton

Kelsey is a recent graduate from the University of Virginia where studied Economics and is now a financial analyst at Microsoft. She joined the Abari Collective because she is passionate about improving the social and economic mobility of women everywhere. She hopes to bring her financial and professional skills to the Abari Collective advisory board to empower the women in the Bugesera District to be financially stable and independent.

 
Chantal Umutoni Chantal Umutoni is originally from Rwanda and is currently completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Management and Leadership in Seattle, Washington. She is excited to be apart of the Abari Collective and among women that make a difference in the lives of Rwandan women and women around the world. Chantal wants to fight for young women’s lives and is excited for the opportunity to help bring a positive change through beauty and style.

Chantal Umutoni

Chantal Umutoni is originally from Rwanda and is currently completing her Bachelor’s Degree in Healthcare Management and Leadership in Seattle, Washington. She is excited to be apart of the Abari Collective and among women that make a difference in the lives of Rwandan women and women around the world. Chantal wants to fight for young women’s lives and is excited for the opportunity to help bring a positive change through beauty and style.