Hi, my name is Maya Lekster. This year I moved to Israel for an internship at Alyn children’s rehabilitation hospital in Jerusalem. I am currently working in the innovation space under a program called PELE. Essentially it is the engineering department of the hospital. Technically I work in a bio-mechanical laboratory but it’s not nearly as fancy as it sounds. I spend my days in their beautiful offices, working on various projects to challenges that don’t yet have solutions. Anything from an electronic bubble machine so a girl with only finger movement can blow bubbles. To inferred and distance sensors so kids in wheel chairs can play tag without touching. Here at the office there are partnerships with companies like Microsoft to develop glasses in replace of mousses so people with disabilities can use computers with just their eyes. I have thrown myself on the projects like the presentation for the Forbes 30 under 30. Everyday I think, invent and have fun while being in spaces, which are at the forefront of technology. Then when my job is done for the day I go back home into the old city of Jerusalem and observe the contrast between the old and ancient methods of technology in comparison to the modern and revolutionary innovations that are created out of Alyn. It is interesting to see the progression between what was and what is, between the stones buildings or the concrete of the innovation space. The innovation space is also lead by strong women who have become my role models, yet 3000 years ago when the old city was being built the role of women was significantly different.
The other day I was climbing up the steps of the wall surrounding the old city and I said “you would not be able to get up here in a wheelchair”. This action made me think about all the people who have never gotten the opportunity to go up those steps because the technology had not been invented. It made me grateful but it also made me want to give this opportunity to others. That is why the work at Alyn is so significant, because while we may take for granted something as simple as blowing a bubble, I couldn’t imagine a childhood without that opportunity. Even now as humans we are nowhere near our full capability. We have a long ways to go to insure everyone can see the view at the top of the castle. Hospitals like Alyn are so successful because in general Israelis really care about one another. Being in Israel and experiencing the sense of community, and care for others is something I will bring back with me to Canada. Here everyone cares for one another, and we treat strangers like family. I want to work hard to help as many people as I can, whether that be my classmates or local charities. I want to give back, and learn as much as I can to give more.