Hannah Dagen

CAM 2019

“Acceptance, openness, and a shared passion for changing the world can break long-standing cultural stereotypes and foster new ways of solving the complex issues of today. My favorite memory was lying on my mattress in the middle of my dorm  at night with my roommates, who were from Swaziland, Pakistan, and China. We talked for hours about our cultures, families, and normal teenage issues, just as if we were sisters. During our swapping of stories and jokes, I realized that we as teenage girls were so much more alike than different.”

Three years ago I became a volunteer for educational and fundraising initiatives within Innovation:Africa, a non-profit organization based in Israel that uses its country’s agricultural and electrical techniques to power entire rural African villages and install clean water pumps for the use of the communities. I speak at schools across New York City to raise awareness about the organization and devise creative ways to obtain donations. So far, I have helped Innovation:Africa raise $15000, which goes directly to the cause of installing water pumps, solar panels, and drip-irrigation systems in underserved rural African villages. 

 I have been profoundly changed through my work with this organization because it allows me to unite and connect two distinct regions through compassion, reinvention, and resourcefulness. Being Jewish and having traveled to Israel many times, I find that working with an Israeli organization such as Innovation: Africa is the perfect place for me to feel empowered, exercise my creative thinking, and change the lives of those around me.

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