Richard Rwanda-IMPUHWE was founded by Jessica Markowitz when she was eleven years old to support educational opportunities for girls in Rwanda in the rural village of Nyamata. Jessica’s original inspiration stemmed from a Rwandan man named Richard Kananga, a representative from the National Unity and Reconciliation Commission in Rwanda. Richard stayed with her family in the United States, and he recounted many sad tales about the horrendous 1994 genocide. With his inspiration, Richard’s Rwanda-IMPUHWE is reaching out to 40 girls to help them achieve an education by supplying them with what they need in order to attend school. Richard’s Rwanda IMPUHWE has established student chapters in several middle and high school across the Unites States working together to support Rwandan girls’ education. We provide financial support to low-income girls in the rural area of Nyamata to enable them to complete their primary education and 6 years of secondary school. Through the completion of their education, we hope to enhance their ability to earn income and become leaders in their community. Eventually, we hope to build a library or learning center for the girls we are supporting and the next generations.
Jessica also had the chance to visit the FAWE (Forum for African Women Educationalist) all girls’ boarding school in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda. She formed a strong friendship with several students and subsequently the FAWE girls have decided to open their own IMPUHWE chapter. They have become mentors and started their own fundraising efforts for the rural girls in Nyamata.
Her visit in 2009 has resulted in an official partnership with the FAWE School. The IMPUHWE original members from Seattle Girls School have graduate from the 8th grade and have opened new chapters in their respective high schools. By creating chapter expansions we hope to raise enough money to establish a larger scholarship fund and build a library in Nyamata.
Now 16 years old, and a Junior at Garfield High School in Seattle WA, Jessica has traveled to Rwanda five times and has been deeply affected by the tales of genocide she has heard from children in the community. Jessica takes very seriously the need to give back and has spent countless hours working to establish her organization Richard’s Rwanda IMPUHWE to ensure Rwandan girls receive the education they deserve.
- Enable girls to finish primary school and attend 6 years of secondary school;
- Reduce the gender discrimination that prevents girls from completing primary and secondary education.
- Develop an on-going cross-cultural exchange program between high school students in Seattle, WA and primary and secondary girls in Nyamata and Kigali Rwanda.
- Support the mentorship provided by girls from Fawe Girls School in the Rwandan capital Kigali, to low income girls in the rural district of Nyamata.
- Collaborate with local NGOs in Rwanda to maintain the support for girls to complete their secondary education.
- High school students in Seattle will raise funds to support program activities through proposal writing and fund-raising activities.
- Increase community awareness and understanding of the issues surrounding the Rwandan genocide by organizing speakers, remembrance events and community outreach activities.
- Raised nearly $130,000 to support girls in Rwanda to finish their primary and secondary education;
- Awarded a $25,000 matching grant from Paul Allen Foundation;
- Annual fund-raising events by Seattle students;
- Expansion from original chapter at Seattle Girls’ School to six additional high school chapters;
- Developed a partnership with a local Rwandan girls’ school FAWE (Forum African Women Educationalist Girls School) to establish their own chapter of Richard’s Rwanda IPMUHWE to provide mentoring to low-income girls in the impoverished rural area of Namata; The program has officially been incorporated as part of a community service program for the FAWE School. (See below for more details).
- June 2010 twelve founding members of RRI (from various member Seattle high schools) traveled to Rwanda to teach English literacy to impoverished high girls in the rural district of Nyamata and strengthen collaboration with their peers at FAWE. They had such a successful experience that a cross-cultural trip is now an annual program. We will offer a trip to Rwanda every summer for the Seattle members of Richard’s Rwanda-IMPUHWE to teach English and connect in person with the girls in Nyamata.
- June 2011: Seventeen new members from several different chapters from around the United States joined us on our second annual service learning trip to Rwanda, continuing our mission of bonding students across the globe.
- World Of Children $15,000 grant awarded 2009