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 realities about the 1994 genocide in Rwanda that left many children and young girls specifically orphaned and the heads of their households. After hearing these stories, Jessica with the help of her friends at school launched, Richard’s Rwanda-IMPUHWE a small club helping to empower young girls of Nyamata through educational opportunities (scholarships, uniform, school fees).
The US-based non-profit sponsored over 100 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 100 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 through economic independence and financial stability.
August 2011 – Heartofgoldgirls.com
June 2011 — MTV Act
February 2011 – World Vision Report
November 2010 – King 5 Evening Magazine
September 2010 – Good News Now article about Jessica speaking at TEDx in Redmond, WA
September 2010 – KUOW Public Radio interviewing Jessica Markowitz
June 2010 – Jessica being honored at the White House as a member of 2010 Parade All-America High School Service Team
June 2010 – Jessica on the front of PARADE Magazine with Matthew McConaughey – Seattle PI online
February 2010 – See Jessica on CNN
December 2009 – Education for all Op-Ed – Seattle PI
November 2009 – “Jessica Markowitz, 14, Helps Heal the World” – I Heart Daily
October 2009 – “Seattle to Rwanda: Every Child in School” – Results Advocate (page 5)
October 2009 – “Seattle Teen Gives Rwandan Girls The Gift of Education” – Huffington Post
October 2009 – “Garfield freshman’s charity begins at school”– Seattle Times
April 2009 – “It’s time for a new chapter in the global illiteracy story – Queen” – Jordan Times
June 2008 – “Kyle Taylor’s Road Trip America” – Positive Youth News
September 2007 – “Seattle seventh-grader offers help to Rwandans” – Seattle PI