Brittany Merill Underwood was a sophomore at Southern Methodist University when she decided to head off to Uganda to teach at a local boarding school for a semester abroad program. During her time there, she met a woman named Sarah who fostered 24 children in her home. Deeply moved by Sarah’s courage and compassion to mother the orphans, Underwood founded the Akola Project upon her return home. Her goal was to build an orphanage for the 24 children who slept on Sarah’s floors. After graduating university, Underwood returned to Uganda to see the completion of the project through.
Over the past seven years, the Akola Project blossomed into a social business that trains, empowers, and equips more than 200 Ugandan women to uplift the lives of their families and communities through income generating fashion. The project lifts the women out of poverty through vocational training, educational programs, employment opportunities, support groups, leadership development, and savings and loans associations.
Since 2004, the organization has built a three-story orphanage, 23 water wells in displaced communities, constructed two vocational training centers and created a thriving social business for women. More than 200 woman and 1,400 children have been empowered through the project.