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Reaching Out to Girls in Rwanda
Tracie Stevens
Members of the first class at Gashora Girls Academy. Photo courtesy Rwanda Girls Initiative.

This past February, Shalisan Foster, ’92, and Suzanne Sinegal McGill, ’91, were 8,872 miles from home, standing on the red Rwanda soil, beaming with pride as they attended the opening of the Gashora Girls Academy—a school they created as part of their Rwanda Girls Initiative.

Founded in 2008, the Rwanda Girls Initiative is a nonprofit organization and NGO whose mission is to open a financially independent school. Besides academics, the boarding school teaches leadership and life skills to develop girls into future leaders of the small African nation.To make their dream a reality, the two Eastside moms turned to the University of Washington for help. They consulted with faculty and graduate students from the College of Education, Evans School of Public Affairs, Information School, Foster School of Business and its MBA Program, as well as Ed Taylor, the UW’s Dean of Undergraduate Academic Affairs. Other universities and Puget Sound-area businesses donated pro-bono architecture, legal, agricultural, engineering and accounting services.

“We were overwhelmed by how quickly leaders from the Seattle community embraced our idea,” Foster says.
—Jon Marmor

For more information on the Rwanda Girls Initiative, go to

One Response to Reaching Out to Girls in Rwanda

  1. Lote says:

    Am really grateful for the great work done by the human lovers, the two American women; Shalisan Foster, ’92, and Suzanne Sinegal McGill, ’91. In Rwanda, we love you very much. Am happy that my sisters are doing well and continuing education at this good school. Your initiative is a life changing reality and we look forward to keeping working with you. These initiators are really a blessing to us in Rwanda. Every young girl in Rwanda in school dreams of going to Gashora girl’s school.
    You are great mothers that want your daughters to be good women and future leaders. Be blessed. We love you, we love America.
    Thanks to all shareholders who made this women’s dream a reality that is a lasting solution to the well being of Rwandan girls.

    LOTE, from Kigali Rwanda, a student now in India.

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