Fabien (left) being interviewed by Hilary Clinton the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Hillary Clinton highlighted Israeli humanitarian aid NGO IsraAID’s ongoing work in Dominica on Wednesday at the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

In an on-stage interview with Sawana Fabien, IsraAID Dominica Education Program Manager, the former Secretary of State discussed Fabien’s experience in Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria, IsraAID’s work on the island, and the role of young leadership in the Caribbean.

Clinton asked Fabien about her experience following the storm and how she got involved in emergency response work. IsraAID, Clinton said, “has developed real expertise in responding to all kind of emergencies.”

“When I went to Roseau two weeks after Maria, I met with IsraAID…IsraAID were a small team, but doing so much. They were everywhere. I said to myself, I want to associate myself with these people,” Fabien said. “The fundamental essence of resilience is community. Social cohesion is what people need in times of crisis…IsraAID is an organization that sees the need with the help of the local partner, and they address it, they attend to it…”

Fabien added, “IsraAID is committed to not just responding. It’s easy to bring medical supplies and relief. But the long-term goal of staying in the country and equipping local partners and people is what IsraAID is committed to. That’s why I’m here today, that’s the reason why I have a job as a young person.””

IsraAID’s Emergency Response team was one of the first international aid groups to reach Dominica after Hurricane Maria hit in September 2017, responding to both the physical devastation of a storm that damaged 90% of the country’s infrastructure, and the psychological and social impact of the disaster on the island’s population.

From rebuilding the damaged roofs of more than 100 vulnerable families to supporting livelihood opportunities for young people, IsraAID’s Dominican, Israeli, and international team is working with communities in Dominica as they recover from Hurricane Maria and build a better future. In partnership with UNICEF and the Dominican Ministry of Education, IsraAID’s team is currently working to ensure that the island’s schools are adequately prepared for future emergencies.

At the Clinton Global Initiative Action Network, members make ‘Commitments to Action’: new, specific, and measurable projects to address critical issues. IsraAID and the Beverly Foundation announced their public commitment to provide sustainable livelihood opportunities for young people in Dominica.

Among conference attendees were Francine Baron, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM affairs; Pepukaye Bardouille, CEO of CREAD; Lizra Fabien of DAIC, representatives from the Kalinago community as well as Beverly Deikel, Patrick Oscar and Amy Rosenblatt Lui of Beverly Foundation.

Hannah Gaventa, IsraAID Dominica Director, stated, “We are so proud to work with inspiring partners and communities as we continue to support the recovery of Dominica after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Dominica is a small island, but with such strength and resiliency, and we are committed to supporting wherever we are needed to do our part to help make Dominica a climate resilient nation.”