Admittedly, as a high school senior, she doesn’t have much time or money. But there’s one thing she definitely has: passion. Smithtown High School West senior Shannon Alptekin took that passion and created her own nonprofit organization to help those in need.
Alptekin is the founder and executive director of International Innovative Solutions Project. I2SP’s mission is to utilize innovative technology to provide humanitarian aid to underprivileged communities that lack access to the resources required to provide essential health and human services. “I am passionate about healthcare, and I aspire to become a surgeon,” Alptekin said. “So I took a look at the global water crisis, especially what is happening with the pandemic, and knew it was a mission that deeply impassioned me.”
Alptekin did some research and learned about the impoverished villagers of Turkana County, Kenya. I2SP’s pilot project is to alleviate water scarcity through the deployment of a self-sustaining solar microgrid that will power an atmospheric water generator. The technology extracts water vapor from the ambient atmosphere and condenses it into clean drinking water. The microgrid will be installed on the grounds of the Turkana Basin Institute Turkwel Research Facility in Turkana County as part of their hub for innovation.
Turkana Basin Institute is one of the partners that will execute the project locally. SOSAED, an organization led by former director of Brookhaven National Laboratory Dr. Samuel Aronson, is another partner based in Turkana that will assist with the project.
The organization’s fundraising goal for the project is $200,000. Donations are being accepted through GoFundMe and the website, www.i2sp.org. “By improving the villagers’ access to a safe source of drinking water, this project will be absolutely transformative,” Alptekin said. “In fact, this project could be replicated in different penurious communities around the globe, making a profound impact in the mitigation of the global water crisis.”
While helping to aid in the village’s drinking water, the project will have even more benefits to the community. It would improve healthcare, education, economics and productivity. Alptekin began this project at the end of 2019 and is focused on spreading the word about the organization’s mission. “I am still in the early stages of fundraising,” she said. “And I realize $200,000 seems like a lot of money. But if we can just get the word out, every dollar will help make a difference in meeting our goal.”
Photo caption: Smithtown High School West senior Shannon Alptekin is the founder and executive director of International Innovative Solutions Project. She’s currently working to raise $200,000 to install a solar grid in Turkana County, Kenya, to provide drinking water for the villagers.
Photo courtesy of Smithtown Central School District