Akola, meaning “she works” in the local Ugandan dialect, is a jewelry brand that empowers women to redesign their stories in Uganda and Dallas, TX.
Brittany Merrill Underwood founded Akola in 2007 while she was a sophomore at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, TX. Inspired to action after meeting a Ugandan woman who cared for 24 street children in her home, Brittany discovered that by training and employing women who are deemed “unemployable” in their communities, and guaranteeing them a monthly income, Akola could help these women care for thousands of children. Today, Akola Jewelry is a full impact brand sold in national retailers including Walmart and Neiman Marcus. Each piece is handcrafted by 1 of 500 women in crisis working to redesign the future of their families.
First created by Akola Project in response to the negative or neutral impacts that well-intentioned “giving a woman a job” can have, Akola Academy is a new nonprofit housing Akola’s growing social service programs in Uganda and Dallas. Akola Academy is creating a community of transformation by moving women from crisis to self-sufficiency with a powerful model offering on the job training, transitional work opportunities and holistic programs to at-risk women both locally and globally. Now, not only are women launching successful businesses and being offered jobs in the competitive job market, but they are becoming transformational leaders in their communities.
These women are courageous – they are stepping up to make a change in their lives – and to support their families and communities. Akola represents a story, a life, a woman, a family – hope – dignity… that’s what you are wearing when you wear Akola. A product that heals – a product that restores. A first job. A first step. A new life.
Thank you for joining our journey to change lives – may yours be changed as well.