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March 12, 2014 12:47 am

Before Purim, Non-Profit Raises Funds and Awareness for African Energy Crisis

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Innovation: Africa's Israel team cleans up a community park with students from the Ort Guttman High School in Netanya. Photo: Innovation: Africa. Ahead of Purim, Innovation: Africa (iA)—a U.N. award-winning organization that brings Israeli technology to rural Africa—hosted a series of events to raise funds and awareness for that continent’s energy crisis.

The non-profit’s executive volunteer committee marked National Unplugging Day on March 8 by hosting an event in New York City, “Unplugged Yoga and Meditation,” to show participants what it’s like to live “unplugged.” The evening opened with a yoga and meditation class led by the popular yoga instructor Victoria Slagter, and was followed by a light meal in which the participants discussed energy poverty in Africa and ways to find volunteer opportunities.

All of the event proceeds went directly to Africa to fund solar installations in rural villages. To date, more than half a million Africans have benefited from iA’s installations, impacting their access to healthcare, education, and clean water, according to the non-profit.

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A day later, iA’s campus committee celebrated International Good Deeds Day by recruiting students from University of California, Los Angeles and the University of Pennsylvania to partake in a day of volunteering. They ran a tech drive and visited inner-city schools, playing sports with the schoolchildren and enlisting their help in cleaning schoolyards and painting murals.

Good Deeds Day in Israel took place March 11, with iA’s Israel team cleaning up a community park together with students from the Ort Guttman High School in Netanya.

“It’s really appropriate that this year the week of Purim coincides with both National Day of Unplugging and Good Deeds Day,” said Emma Goldman, iA’s outreach coordinator, who coordinates a base of close to 1,000 volunteers. “After all, Purim is a time of matanat l’evyonim, giving to those less fortunate, which is exactly what our incredible volunteers are doing this week.”

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