I was born; I grew up…

Place of birth was Stockholm, and my family and I moved to our current residence on the day I turned one. I have since then ploughed through kindergarten, the Swedish elementary school and the Swedish gymnasium (which corresponds to high school in regards to age and level of education.) At the moment, I am in-between jobs, so to speak – I have recently graduated, and will live and work as an au pair in England for a year before attending the Swedish high school (= college, sort of.)

As of yet, I don’t have any concrete plans for the distant future. I have gone over some brilliant ideas and some not-quite-so-radiating ones with a friend, but it is still all up in the air. Until things settle, I remain optimistic and enthusiastic about the future.

Meet Hanna Hagenmalm

Name and location

Hanna Hagenmalm, born and currently residing in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden.

What made you want to go to Haiti?

Like many others, I want to travel. However, I have never been comfortable with assuming the role of a tourist. So, last summer I decided to visit Spain as a pilgrim, walking El Camino de Santiago and discovering that there are actually some pretty cool alternatives to sunbathing and roadtripping. To me, Haiti was an opportunity to go on one of these non-vacations, and the idea of volunteer work has been lurking in my head for quite a few years. Haiti, in particular, has idled in the foreground ever since a family friend reported that the state of things were as if the earthquake had been only weeks ago.

The date was also a perfect fit for me, which made it a given that I at least had to try to raise the money!
What are you hoping to get out of the experience?

Tons of construction work? I am hoping that our contribution will have an impact on somebody’s, or several somebodies’ lives, and that I will gain a better understanding of the situation in Haiti, as well as the culture and society. I’m hoping that, regardless of what happens, it will be an experience that I will remember for a long, long time.

How did you approach the task of raising $5000?

Being in the middle of graduating, I could only set aside a limited amount of time for fundraising. In Sweden it is not normative to ask for money and funding from friends and family, so I made a list of companies, big and small, which I thought might be interested in sponsoring me: local tv channels and newspapers, IKEA etc… And then I simply called all of them, with varying degrees of success.

What are a few of your best fundraising tips?

Ah… I am sad to say that I am still new to fundraising, and hope to do better next time. However, I can say what definitely did not work – appealing to big business corperations with heaps of money.

Can you offer any words of encouragement to those who are still working towards their fundraising goal?

The money is out there, and it is all about finding someone willing to share your vision and support your goal. Good luck!