Anastasia Somoza is no stranger to human rights issues. In 1993 at the age of only nine, she appeared on national television during President Clinton Answering Children’s Questions to advocate for her twin sister, Alba. Like Anastasia, Alba was born with cerebral palsy, and she was being denied the right of access to equal education. When Anastasia asked President Clinton about this issue, it triggered a series of events that included the President’s direct involvement and Alba becoming the “first severely disabled child to be fully integrated in the New York City Public School System.”
Years later (and after volunteering full-time on another Clinton’s presidential campaign in 2008), Anastasia faced her own challenge to accessing education. Her ever-growing commitment to human rights issues had led her to apply for a graduate degree in the subject at the London School of Economics. Though she was accepted with a full scholarship, it didn’t cover medical related expenses. Given Anastasia’s cerebral palsy and use of a wheelchair, she needs the presence of a 24/7 caretaker — something that can get quite expensive, especially when traveling abroad.
When the State of New York also refused to cover medical expenses for study outside the US, Anastasia’s dream was at risk of being put on hold.
Fortuitously, her caretaker at the time had a boyfriend — and that boyfriend had run campaigns on Indiegogo to raise money for his documentary film projects. When Anastasia found out about the platform through her caretaker, she and her parents decided to start a campaign to cover extra costs for her first year at LSE.
Two campaigns later, Anastasia was able to rally her contributors for over $37,000 — and complete her first year at LSE! Now, she’s returned to Indiegogo for a fourth campaign to raise money for her second year!
Anastasia has made truly inspiring use of crowdfunding — a true testament to the openness of Indiegogo’s platform and the incredible things that can be done with it. We wish Anastasia the best as she continues her education and establishes a powerful voice for human rights.
Check out Anastasia’s campaign and help her finish her studies at LSE!