I met Jordan Hayes in 2016, and we spent the summer talking at length about our shared passion: the intersection of international human rights, technology and media. We arrived in Iraqi Kurdistan for a fact-finding trip with the beginnings of Hello Future already in mind.
Chatting with fathers, uncles, and nephews; sipping tea with mothers, sisters, and daughters; riding in cars with old friends, closer than brothers; becoming acquainted with entire families sheltered in camps - these experiences defined Hello Future.
Ultimately, I have to face the question, “Why do you want to do this?”
It is because I believe in contributing. I believe in empowerment, giving voice to those who are unheard, and the promise of the Internet as the ultimate open civil space for expression and information. My own path has led me here. From women’s rights advocacy and organizing in college, to two decades of experience in storytelling (both visual and narrative), to five years as the co-founder of a contemporary art gallery in NYC launched through successful crowdfunding, to years traveling the world and consulting for tech and media companies. Hello Future is informed by these experiences: my untraditional path and Jordan’s expertise in children’s literacy and grassroots advocacy.
Connectivity empowers both our students and our funders. As our students access and participate in the online commons, our funders can see the impact. The online commons is two-way, connecting us to them, them to the world.
Nancy, the founding director of Rainforest Flow, a water and sanitation NGO in Peru, said “Ultimately, we do it for ourselves.” Hello Future benefits us as much as the refugees: It is the fulfillment of our potential to deliver Hello Future so many other people can fulfill theirs.
We will use our collective skills to help them tell their stories and build a future re-imagined.