Ashinaga USA

12 E 49th Street, 11th Floor

New York, NY 10017

+1 (929) 232-2893

At Ashinaga Uganda in January 2014, Hilda Nilwanga celebrates with young friends as she receives word of her admission to Smith College.

Ashinaga Africa Initiative

Ashinaga USA’s primary focus is the Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI). The Ashinaga Africa Initiative (AAI) is an academic leadership program launched in 2014. It aims to contribute to Sub-Saharan Africa’s expanding role in global development through increasing access to international higher education. AAI Scholars are students who have lost one or both parents and are committed to returning home, or to the region of sub-Saharan Africa, to initiate change, innovation, and development. Ashinaga provides each selected AAI Scholar with the academic and financial support to study abroad, as well as access to mentoring and career guidance. After graduation, Scholars return home, empowered to turn their vision into reality.

Ashinaga USA is proud to say that the excellence of our AAI scholars has been recognized time and time again and reflected in the significant amount of financial aid pledged by high quality higher education institutions all over the country, and to date, AAI Scholars have earned more than $4.7 million in scholarships and financial aid for their four years at university. 

A multinational cast featuring orphaned students served by Ashinaga programs in Uganda and Japan and students from Vassar College performed At Home in the World to wide acclaim in Japan in March 2014. The unique show comes to the U.S. in June 2015.

At Home In The World

A Cultural Collaboration Like No Other

In 2014 and again in 2015, Ashinaga and Vassar College combined forces to present Japanese and American audiences a unique amalgamation of dancing, singing and drumming by students from Ashinaga’s Rainbow House in Uganda, Japanese taiko drumming by students from Rainbow Houses in Japan, and American choral singing by students from Vassar College, the alma mater of Jean Webster, whose timeless novel helped inspire the Ashinaga movement.  Titled At Home in the World, the show was directed by London-based John Caird, who won the Tony Award for Les Misérables and both the Tony and Olivier awards for Nicholas Nickleby.


The first edition of At Home in the World comprised two concerts in Japan in March 2014 that featured traditional and popular songs from Japan, Uganda and the U.S.  After an intense rehearsal period at a secluded location in the snowy mountains of northern Japan, the young performers presented the first concert in Sendai, with the nation’s Prince Akishino and Princess Mako in attendance.  The show coincided closely with the third anniversary of the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami that had devastated the Tohoku region.  Following this emotional performance, the troupe traveled to Tokyo to perform for a very appreciative audience of more than a thousand at the Shinjuku Cultural Center.


The 2015 edition of At Home in the World, once again directed by John Caird, maintained much of the original production while benefiting from the addition of choreography by Griffin Matthews and new and expanded original musical works by noted composers Mitsuaki Sato, Matt Gould and Tarik O’Regan.  After the multinational troupe spent several days rehearsing the revised show on the campus of Vassar College, they performed for an audience at Vassar, then traveled to New York where they played to an equally full and enthusiastic house at Jazz at Lincoln Center.  At Home in the World then moved on to Washington, D.C., for a rousing performance at the Warner Theatre.  One week later, the tour concluded in Tokyo, where the largest audience yet – 1,200 people at a sold-out Nerima Cultural Center – gave the young performers such a prolonged standing ovation that the entire troupe of  more than 70, having left the stage, had to return for a final bow before the audience would leave.


Because Ashinaga and Vassar College are linked by shared ideals and dedicated to education as the key to improving the lives of people everywhere, they collaborated with John Caird on this production in order to raise awareness of the needs of young people who have lost their parents, and to support Ashinaga, Inc.’s efforts to raise funds for African students of great promise to attend college overseas.


Of equal importance, the creation and performances of At Home in the World offered talented young people from Uganda, Japan and the United States the opportunity to articulate and share their experience, artistry and aspirations across their varied and vibrant cultures.


Please watch video clips from the 2015 show