We have a saying in our company… “we want every community in which we operate to be a better place because we’re there.” It’s not just lip service. We are passionate about training and educating the next generation—because we know education can bring lasting change to communities.
Some time ago, Marriott looked at expanding our brands into Africa. We knew there was a historically high youth unemployment rate across the continent. We couldn’t just open hotels without first showing the communities there that we cared about their future. We started a partnership with the Akilah Institute for Women in Kigali, Rwanda. The school provides the training young women need to achieve meaningful careers and start their own businesses.
I had a chance to meet a couple of the students in their program… One of them was Rose. Rose enrolled in the Akilah program in 2014 because she has a dream to become the first woman tour guide in Rwanda. She has the passion and drive to leave a legacy for her family… not just financially. She wants to inspire her family and other young women in her community… showing them that you can rise above difficult circumstances and do great things.
His Excellency President Kagame once said, “My purpose is to develop a country, to empower its population.” We are honored to play even a small part in helping to empower the people of Rwanda through training, education and commerce.
I’m Bill Marriott and thanks for helping me keep Marriott on the move.