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In 1994, Rwanda was ravaged by a genocide that killed nearly one million people. While the country still faces many challenges, it has also become a global model for development — particularly in education.


One powerful example is the Gashora Girls Academy of Science and Technology, an upper-secondary boarding school located in the Gashora District. As part of the Rwanda Girls Initiative, the school was founded in 2008 by Soozi Sinegal McGill and Shal Foster, who believed that the most effective way to help young women become leaders in their communities is through STEM education.


What began as an ambitious effort to make a difference in the lives of a handful of young women has since become an astonishing case study in what happens when women are given a chance to succeed. In a country where 16% of girls graduate from high school, the Academy has prepared more than 600 young women to attend 162 different universities in 25 countries around the world. In the process, these young women aren’t just changing their own communities. 


They’re changing the world. 


Since first visiting Rwanda in 2009, I’ve produced a film each year through Harbers Studios that highlights the transformative work happening at the Academy, which they use as a tool for fundraising. At the same time, I’ve been capturing images that speak to the powerful, particular joy that can only exist in a space designed to allow women to pursue their dreams. 

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