Monthly Archives

March 2019

By | Entrepreneurship

Increasing Awareness about Education Disparities in the Dominican Republic at UR

Hector Castillo Carvajal ’20 recently hosted an event – Education Disparities in Developing Countries: What Can You Do? – to highlight the ongoing education disparities in the Dominican Republic. Through this event, he aimed to encourage his fellow classmates to become agents of change.

Read more about Hector’s entrepreneurial story here.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester

Increasing Awareness about Education Disparities in the Dominican Republic at UR

By Hector Castillo Carvajal

Born and raised until the age of eight in Las Barias, Provincia Bani, Dominican Republic I witnessed a large amount of poverty, not only in my community but all throughout the country. I can distinctly remember kids walking miles upon miles to class because there were either no funds to address the malfunctioning school buses, or they couldn’t afford the ride. Although I was fortunate enough to live next door to my school, I often wonder how it would have been if I didn’t.

Hector Castillo Carvajal presenting at the Barbara J. Burger iZone in the Kessler Forum on February 8, 2019.

With the odds in our favor, my family received the opportunity of a lifetime – my father’s petition to leave our poor but beautiful little town and migrate to the United States had been approved. My family and I arrived in New York City in October of 2004. That was the first time that I realized there was a stark difference between the abundance of wealth, resources, and opportunities available in the US compared to back home.

Seeing such disparity first hand, inspired me to explore social entrepreneurship. These experiences made me eager to enact change in the Dominican Republic, and eventually in other developing countries. One way I am working towards this goal is through a fundraiser/initiative called Carvajal Cares that I began to benefit underserved students in my hometown back in Las Barias, Provincia Bani (DR).

Hector Castillo Carvajal at Escuela Básica Graciosa Elvira Cuevas in Las Barias, Bani, Dominican Republic. (Fall Break – October 12th, 2018)

While living in NYC though, there was a point in which I felt myself taking the numerous opportunities for granted. So in 2016, I dropped out of high school and traveled back to the Dominican Republic to rectify myself and figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I was immediately overcome with feelings of confusion and disappointment as I watched parents lead their children to harvest crops to make extra money necessary to make ends meet. I noticed that these children didn’t have the option to focus on pursuing their education or their dreams. This trip reignited my drive to do more to improve the lives of those living in DR by focusing on the education system. It also motivated me to increase awareness of the problems that communities like Las Barias, Bani face all throughout the world.

I recently had the opportunity to do just that. I hosted an event entitled “Education Disparities in Developing Countries: What Can You Do?” to highlight the ongoing education disparities in the DR and to encouraged my fellow classmates to become agents of change.

I began the event by playing a short documentary featuring the struggles that students in the Dominican Republic experience. I then had the audience participate in a Kahoot game I created, which included statistical data about the family incomes and education in the DR. Many of the students and staff members who attended sat in awe when they learned that according to the World Bank, 46% of Dominicans live in poverty and that the average income per month is only USD $130. One student couldn’t help but comment: “Wow, I figured the situation was bad, but not that bad! This is surprising.” Witnessing and hearing such reactions along with individuals inquiring about volunteering opportunities made me realize how successful the event turned out to be.

Harry Montas, a documentary photographer, and educator based in the Bronx Documentary Center in New York City visited us as a guest speaker to present and debut his contemporary documentary in partnership with Carvajal Cares. Throughout his presentation, the audience gained insight on his passion for documentary making; he considers his work to be his contribution to social change, as well as an artistic social responsibility. During the presentation of the documentary, many attendees wondered about our encounters in Las Barias while documenting the school, students, staff, and the principle, and we both emphasized how humbling, yet inspiring it was. The service trip was organized during Fall Break, and happily, I spent my birthday, October 12 working on this heart-warming project.

Presenters and Dean Burdick (From left to right: Harry Montas, Hector Castillo Carvajal, and Dean Burdick).

Post-event report:

  • A total of $391 we’re raised as we announced our $10 for 10 day’s campaign at the event.
  • The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity on-campus donated 100% of their proceeds from a Valentine’s Day event.
  • Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity has granted us a table at their Latino Expressions event on April 13th, 2019 in the May Room at U of R. The event’s focus is to increase the visibility of successful and empowering latin-based organizations to minority students within the Greater Rochester Area.
  • Lambda Upsilon Lambda Fraternity donated school supplies from their successful Fall semester school supply drive.
  • Carvajal Cares has gained 3 student volunteers on-campus.

I want to give special thanks to the Ain Center for Entrepreneurship for the sponsorship and opportunity to hold this event. It is through such events that I can continue to work towards creating real change.

On behalf of Carvajal Cares, I’d like to give a special thank you to the following folks and organizations for their contributions to the event: Ain Center for Entrepreneurship, Zeus Photography, Barbara J. Burger iZone, and Harry Montas.

Hector Castillo Carvajal ’20 is a Business Marketing major at the University of Rochester, where he serves as Vice President for the Rochester Business Association. His entrepreneurial spirit is inspired by his upbringing in both the Dominican Republic and New York City. He is currently working on expanding and promoting his personal business ventures: Don Carvajal Café, Carvajal Cares, and DC Premium.

By | Innovation, People, Rochester, Social Entrepreneurship, Uncategorized

Can Millennials Actually Change the World?

By Ain CFE Staff

Daphne Pariser ’20 (PhD Candidate in Immunology and Microbiology) founded Humans for Education, an organization that partners with schools in developing nations to create sustainable, culturally-sensitive businesses so they can generate their own income to provide for students’ needs and help build strong communities. As UR student entrepreneurs, Daphne and her team have worked in our Student Incubator since September 2016. After their founding in 2015, they have earned over $45,000 in funding from competition wins, donations, a Farash Foundation grant, in addition to individual contributions. Their enterprise, Humans for Education, officially incorporated in 2016 and is now a federally-recognized non-profit through 501(c)(3) designation.

In addition to their other successes, Humans for Education has competed in many of the Ain Center’s business competitions. Competing against more than twenty strong teams, Daphne and her team finished as semi-finalists in the 2018 Mark Ain Business Plan Competition. They also competed in the 2018 Finger Lakes Regional Contest of the New York Business Plan competition, where the team won the top prize in the Social Entrepreneurship & Non-Profit category. They later went on to beat out teams throughout New York to take home first place in the statewide New York Business Plan Competition and received $10,000 for their winning venture.

As Humans for Education’s founder, Daphne routinely shares her story with anyone who may be interested in using their own talents to make a difference in the world.

Last weekend, Daphne spoke at a TEDx event hosted by Allendale Columbia School in Rochester. There she addressed the idea of using simple solutions to tackle an incredibly complex human problem: poverty. During her presentation, she explained that understanding the data surrounding this problem can help people get to the core of the issue and create solutions that are easy-to-use and sustainable over time.

Daphne and her Humans for Education team have been implementing these solutions, starting with a small school in Kenya. She argues that the success they’ve seen there was only achievable by first listening to the people who were most intimate with the problem and then creating a simple solution. Listen to her whole session below!

To learn more about Humans for Education, visit their website. If you have an idea that you would like to change the world with, contact the Ain Center and we can connect you to the resources you need!

By | Entrepreneurship

Can Millennials Actually Change the World? A TEDx Talk

Daphne Pariser ’20 founded Humans for Education, an organization that partners with schools in developing nations to create sustainable, culturally-sensitive businesses so they can generate their own income to provide for students’ needs and help build strong communities. Daphne recently gave a TEDx talk in Rochester, where she discussed the opportunities millennials have to make a difference in their communities and beyond.

Learn more and watch Daphne’s presentation here.