Amel Fund and Tennessee88


The AMEL Fund, established by Yahya Mhirsi in collaboration with 88 International, stands as a source of support and opportunity within the realm of arts and leadership. This fund program serves as a funding source for programs under the 88 International organization while also extending grants and scholarships to both active students and alumni members. Inspired by their own journey, founders Yahya and his wife Fatma Souf, accomplished musicians, initiated the AMEL Fund after successfully raising funds for their education through the Tennessee88 project. Rooted in the AMEL acronym—Aspiration, Motivation, Excellence, and Leadership, the program symbolizes the power of collective hope, echoing the values of cultural exchange, empowerment, and the pursuit of artistic excellence. In Arabic, “Amel” translates to “hopes”.

Yahya and Fatma – Tennessee88 story

Relocating from Tunisia to pursue studies at East Tennessee State University, Yahya and Fatma faced financial challenges as international students. Despite these obstacles, they initiated Project Tennessee88, a unique endeavor supported by 88 International with the goal of performing 88 concerts across the state of Tennessee. The project aimed to support their U.S. education while introducing American communities to their Tunisian musical and cultural heritage, creating an intimate connection between the artists and audiences.

In less than two years, the project raised over $18,500, leading to invitations to perform in various venues across the U.S.—from Boston, MA, to Nashville, TN—and gaining coverage from multiple media outlets.