HELEN BOXWILL-H2 EMPOWER
Founder of H2 Empower, which has built a library, with computers and over 10k books in a rural part of Ethiopia.
1. What’s the biggest, most personally fulfilling dream you’ve achieved to date?
Building a community library and sending 10k volumes of books to the library in Hosaena, a rural town in Ethiopia. It’s for a community that has never had a library and for kids that have never had books in their hands to read.
2. Were there any major challenges or obstacles that stood in your way? How did you break through them?
Their was many challenges with the biggest challenge being distance as I was doing the work from America with Ethiopia being on the other side of the earth. It was also the bureaucracy and governmental systems that were obstacles as issues with contractors.
I overcame obstacles by working with people who shared the passion of the dream and who showed my same level of persistence in working through or around the road blocks. My motto is that you have to find a way because their will always be problems but even if their is a mountain in front of you then you have to find another road. Either dig underneath it, go around it, climb over it. I would say that it’s persistence, never giving up and crowd sourcing solutions amongst friends and colleagues.
3. How do dreams benefit the world?
Dreams are essential and it’s the only way to move forward. If you just accept the way things are and see all of these problems, and you just sit around and can’t solve those problems, but if you can dream of new possibilities for yourself and your community then anything can happen. In Ethiopia people often said I’ll get accepted to school or I’ll get married or whatever they wanted to do, if the gods are willing and they would sit around and wait to get a message, but my father always taught me that god helps those who help themselves. So if you decide that this is what you want and you work for it, then yo will find a way. Everyone can dream their own possibilities and if their is no reason to ever limit yourself. Dreams might evolve but each one of us has the potential to achieve all kinds of things and dreams are the first step.
4. What energizes you to keep moving towards realizing your dreams
I’m energized by the children in Hosaena, Ethiopia. They have nothing material. They have no shoes and ragged clothes they have no running water or electricity and living very simple and we would be horrified to live in the simple situations that they live in and yet they were happy and bright. When I see their faces I see infinite possibilities and see such great hope for the future. I would close my eyes even now and see their smiles an say that they should be able to have the same opportunities that kids in wealthier environments and it’s not always money and that opportunity can come from knowledge. they can solve their own problems if they have ideas on how to do that and they have access to information and if they can get skills to use that info in their own way. Seeing those faces is pure potential and i wanted to do something to help to give support so they can have their own dreams and achieve them
5. What dream are you currently looking forward to “running with” and realizing?
We have a building and we have books and we have a librarian, which is only the first step. Now i have to work towards freeing people’s fear of using the library. They have a fear of not knowing how to use it, worrying about the language, what they are going to do there, how do they find information and how do they work with the curriculum. What I’m excited about now is the potential of the library and freeing people from their fears of how to use their library, so what I’m hoping to do is give people the opportunity, not knowing how to use it. Give people the opportunity to have their minds open, to create new ideas to have new visions for themselves and their communities and be able to access all kinds of info from tech to actual paper and pencil and books in their hands. Im running with the goal and dream of opening people p to access what’s there. right now they;re still a little leery because it;s all brand new and they;re a little intimated. Most of the teachers and kids in Hosaena have never had their own books, kids have never seen picture books before or an encyclopedia, but that is now not going to be the case.