The Abari Collective began in 2006 as a school sponsorship program called Richard's Rwanda-IMPUHWE. The organization 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 Jessica’s family in the United States, and he recounted many sad tales about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. With his inspiration, Richard’s Rwanda-IMPUHWE was created as a way to empower young girls of Nyamata and create hope for a better future.
The US-based non-profit is sponsoring 50 low-income girls in the rural area of Nyamata, Rwanda, to help them access an education and finish their schooling. Richard’s Rwanda-IMPUHWE has established student chapters in several middle and high schools across the United States that work together to raise funds to support Rwandan girls’ education. Since 2006, Richard’s Rwanda has provided primary and secondary school scholarships to over 85 girls.
In 2017, the organization decided to create a new initiative called The Abari Collective to offer employment and skill-building opportunities for these young women upon finishing their secondary school education. By offering vocational training and supplementary educational programs, The Abari Collective continues the vision of Richard's Rwanda-IMPUHWE, with empowering young Rwandan women at the core of its mission.
"Since I was eleven years old I have organized bake sales, car washes and all different kinds of fundraisers to raise money for my sisters in Rwanda. With my own eyes I have watched the life of a young Rwandan girl transform through the gift of an education and my life will never be the same. ”
--Jessica Markowitz, Founder