Award-Winning Designer Sharon Davis to Attend Opening of Women’s Opportunity Center in Rwanda

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Eco-friendly building will help empower women.

Sharon Davis announced today that she will be attending the official opening of the Women’s Opportunity Center (WOC) in Kayonza, Rwanda on June 28th 2013. Designed by her eponymous firm, this brand-new, environmentally friendly building will be the new home for Women for Women International, an organization that supports the economic empowerment of women.

In making the announcement Sharon Davis, the founder of Sharon Davis Design said, “The opening of the Women’s Opportunity Center in Rwanda is a culmination of many years of wanting to help the women in Africa’s most densely populated country. After decades of war and sacrifice, women now have a place that can inspire and empower them.”

Sharon Davis Design, a New York City-based firm, designed and built the Women’s Opportunity Center as an environmentally sustainable facility that incorporates locally appropriate technologies, including solar power generation, rainwater harvesting, biogas fuel for cooking, and composting toilets. The principal building materials are more than 450,000 clay bricks, each one handcrafted by the women who will benefit from the WOC.

“What made this project so exciting was the personal interaction with the women for whom we were designing this center for. We listened to their vision and carefully weaved elements of Rwandan tradition into the project,” said Ms. Davis. Women for Women International started working in Rwanda in 1997 and has supported more than 56,000 women to date.

Sharon Davis Design was named one of Metropolis magazine’s 2013 “Game Changers” for her work on the Women’s Opportunity Center in Kayonza, and the project earned the 2011 World Architecture Festival Award "Best Future Educational Project of the Year.”

Sharon Davis’s work is driven by her belief in the transformative power of design. Following a successful career in finance, she redirected her professional pursuits to the built environment, returning to graduate school in her forties and establishing a collaborative design practice dedicated to human-centered environments in 2007. Davis’ dedication to social and environmental issues is reflected in her pro-bono efforts. Previously, she served as board president and trustee of the Fresh Air Fund, a council member of the New York Public Library, and a trustee for the Natural Resources Defense Council. The Women’s Opportunity Center is her first design in Africa.

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Press should email Nicolla Hewitt Communications at NH(at)NicollaHewitt(dot)com.

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