Monday, December 24, 2012

Happy holidays!

Wishing you a very happy holiday season. Merry Christmas!

With love, the Camelia Institute

Friday, November 30, 2012

Donation- yay!!!

A very generous donation to cover the costs of filing for 501(c)3 status is on its way!

Special thanks to the Ortiz-Cabrera/Cabrera-Ortiz family.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

What do you think? (Old post that didn't get publish bc of glitch)

Tell us what you think! I was playing around with this application, thought it was pretty neat.
P.S. What you are seeing are images from our trip to one of the nursing homes in DR. This was in conjunction with Fundacion NTD Ingredientes who graciously invited us to take along.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Mobile updates!

Howdie partners!

We are now able to post via our phones! Woo hoo!!! This means blogs will be shorter, but hopefully more frequent!

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Soul Searching

Hi lovelies,

I hope this message finds you and your loved ones well. For those who were affected directly by Hurricane Sandy, our thoughts and prayers are with you. Being a New York organization, we have noted the impact Sandy has had on the Northeast. While things have changed, one thing is for sure: as a community we will persevere.


I've been a little off the radar. Not because I love this organization any less, more so because I've been struggling with managing this organization, school, and my multiple work positions. I am trying to find a healthy balance, where my sanity and well being aren't jeopardized.

If I am not blogging as much as I should be, please forgive me. We are NOT receiving any compensation- other than seeing the smiles on our viejito's faces- and as such, we need to prioritize our work and school first. The successes in both arenas will benefit the Camelia Institute in the long run, I am SURE!

While the time devoted to the CI isn't as much as we would all like, we will still be collecting donations and working on various ways to help seniors worldwide. If things aren't picking up pace, please forgive us.

We love you, we love the Camelia Institute, and most importantly we LOVE our seniors!



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Monday, September 3, 2012

(Part of) My DR Experience


It's been about a month since I had the pleasure of accompanying NTD to 1 nursing home & 2 day centers in Neyba, San Juan & Vallejuelo. Overall the experience was wonderful! It helped me see areas of the Dominican Republic I wouldn't have otherwise visited, & more importantly I witnessed first hand the conditions many of these seniors live in. I was also able to see the amazing work NTD Ingredientes is doing, which helped me realize partnering with them is the best thing for our viejitos in the DR.

The Camelia Institute will be partnering with NTD Ingredientes for projects in the Dominican Republic. NTD has conducted extensive research of nursing homes & day centers throughout the DR. That being said, they have an established relationship with Directors and are easily able to identify existing needs. This is how our partnership will work:
  •  The Camelia Institute will continue collecting non-intrusive medical equipment in NYC. We will be storing the equipment until we have a significant number to send to the DR.
  • The Camelia Institute will transport the equipment to a shipping port in NJ, where NTD Ingredientes is allowing us to ship with them. This will significantly help us financially (we have been absorbing the shipping costs)
  • NTD will distribute equipment, after having first identified center needs.
  • Donations will be made on behalf of both organizations.

There have been a few people with concerns regarding the donations being done directly by NTD & not the Camelia Institute. To these individuals I say, please look at the bigger picture. Our ultimate goal is to help seniors have a higher quality of life. NTD has greater resources & a larger team to continuously make these donations possible. The Camelia Institute isn't quite there yet.

That's it for tonight. Before I go, I though I'd share a few images from a Domino Tournament hosted by NTD with nursing homes/ Day Centers from different regions in the DR.

I'll be back soon, I promise!


P.S. Does anyone know how to have a picture as part of one's signature on gmail? I'd really love to start using this in collaboration with NTD:

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Road Trip!

Buenas Noches Amigos!

Just a very quick update:
  • NTD & the Camelia Institute will be partnering to help the elderly in the Dominican Republic! (more on this in an upcoming blog)
  • I will be travelling with Tiffany and Maria-Fernanda, members of Fundacion NTD, to Neyba (Neiba) tomorrow early in the A.M. -- I will be honest and say I almost wasn't going to make it. There was a storm coming to the DR from Puerto Rico. And, well, if you know how Dominicans on the island drive you would understand where the anxiety was coming from! (Pray for me, send positive vibes my way, positive energies, etc!)
Until next time! I'm hoping to come back with lots of pictures and stories from this trip!


P.S. I have lots to tell you about what we've been up to in the Dominican Republic. Stay tuned! 

Saturday, July 28, 2012

From sticks to canes…

Good day everyone,

I know it has been a while since my last post, but I know my partner Jennifer has been doing a great job keeping everyone updated on our progress. Today I would like to give a progress report about our trip to Bangladesh. But before I get into the actual event, I want to share some knowledge on the country’s background in terms of its elderly population:

  • People are living longer; the average life expectancy at birth in Bangladesh has increased to over 60 years.
  • Most of the elderly people of Bangladesh aren’t in a good socio-economic condition due to various problems such as poverty, wage discrimination, want of essential goods and commodities, shelter and compulsory retirement from job when age limit is attained.
  • A small proportion (around 6%) of the total population of Bangladesh constitutes the elderly population, but the absolute number of them is quite significant (about 7.2 million).
  • About 90% of the urban elderly males live alone and are married, whereas 89 percent of the rural elderly women living alone are widowed.

The Camelia Institute made a big difference on the lives of 20 disabled and impoverished elderly citizens. Thanks to my uncle: Jahangir Kabir Khan, we were able to partner up with local community leaders at the rural village of Noakhali, Bangladesh, which is where our event took place. We ensured that the community leaders and volunteers were fit and dependable and shared our vision. This area is primarily known for its agricultural activities and fish farming, and has a huge elderly population that is desperately in need of assistance. These people could not afford walking canes, and had to rely on unstable bamboo sticks to help them move around. Most of the elderly here are often unable to meet the demand due to extreme poverty, and rely on their families to provide them food and shelter.

We communicated with the local community leaders and provided them with a qualification criterion that would help determine who would receive assistance from the Camelia Institute. Afterwards, the local community leaders and volunteers conducted a needs assessment survey in which they went around the village to select the recipients. We selected a location that was convenient for everyone and distributed small goodie bags that was comprised of various items ranging from knee braces to sugar free chocolates. We also distributed clothing and walking canes. Unfortunately, some of these elderly citizens were so disabled that they weren’t even able to attend the event to receive their canes, and had sent a family member to pick it up on their behalf.

You could literally feel the happiness seeping out of the recipients. I never thought something so small as a small goodie bag could make such a big difference. Everyone was extremely thankful and I think they were just happy that someone was thinking about them, since they are so often the forgotten. I want to thank everyone who participated in making our trip to Bangladesh successful and feel extremely blessed to have made a difference.


Friday, July 27, 2012

Hey lovelies!

Here's a quick picture of our trip to Bangladesh. Lutful will be updating a post soon! Tomorrow I will be meeting members of NTD for the first time. Although it will be a short introduction, I am super excited to meet them! Special shout out to Tiffany for making this happen!


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

What's NEW?

Hey y'all!

Just a few quick updates:
  1. Donations in Bangladesh were made! Stay tuned for Lutful's experience + pictures.
  2. Donations in the Dominican Republic will be taking place soon. :) 
  3. We will be attending NTD's Dominos tournament Saturday July 28th.
    • More on this and our experience in an upcoming blog
Hope you all have a wonderful day!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

What's Going on?

So much has happened since we last blogged.

For starters, we are INCORPORATED as the Camelia Institute! We were facing some problems with having to change our name. Luckily, we had great people working with us to resolve this issue :)

Words are one thing, actions are another! That being said, we can't wait to show you what we have been doing!

Lutful will be going to Bangladesh to donate some equipment & goodies in the near future. I must say, we have had an enormous amount of support. In little less than a year, the Camelia Institute will have donated to two countries!

Aside from Lutful's trip to BD, I will be returning to the Dominican Republic with donated goods. Before donating equipment, I will be meeting members of NTD.  Can't wait! This collaboration could mean A LOT to seniors in the Dominican Republic. And to be honest, it would mean a lot to us as well.

Until next time, friends!


Thursday, April 26, 2012


Si a usted le gustaria leer algunos blogs en español, por favor envieme un mensaje a: Aunque no puedo prometer que mi ortografia sea correcta, hare todo de mi parte! 

Bueno... también usar un traductor para ayudar ;)  

Hasta la próxima,

Tuesday, April 17, 2012


Hello Lovelies!

We'd like to continue spreading sunshine in your lives by updating you with some strides we have made.
  • We will be going to the Dominican Republic in the summertime to donate more equipment! Hurray! We will be working with another foundation, Fundacion NTD Ingredientes, in hopes to better serve our viejitos! (I'll talk a little bit more about this partnership below). 
  • We will be going to Bangladesh in the summertime as well!! How exciting! This will be the Camelia Institute's first time there, and we couldn't be any more excited! Yahoooo! 
 Right now we are paying for a lot of the expenses out-of-pocket.  This will change soon! We know you're eager to help us, so we'd like to invite you to donate to our cause. We already have a special and dear friend who has pledged $200. We don't expect all pledges to be of this quantity, honestly even $1 can help, and we'd be extremely appreciative! We are working on how to make your donations be tax exempt, it's a sllloooowwwwww process, our apologies!

Fundacion NTD Ingredientes:
  • The Camelia Institute was approached by Fundacion NTD Ingredientes earlier this year. NTD has traveled nursing homes/ day centers throughout the Dominican Republic. Though most senior centers have an established need, NTD has established which centers require the most equipment. This is where our partnership comes into play. 
    • NTD has information on the centers which need equipment; Camelia Institute has equipment to donate! 
  • The Camelia Institute will be meeting with members of Fundacion NTD Ingredientes during our visit to the Dominican Republic. This seems like a great opportunity to help the most amount of seniors. **
  • Check out more on this organization here:
Until next time!


 **The Camelia Institute will not be sending equipment through this partnership until we first meet face-to-face with members of this organization. Given the black market which exists in the Dominican Republic, we'd prefer to first meet with members of the organization in person first. It gives us all a peace of mind...

Saturday, March 17, 2012

What's going on?


As founder of the Camelia Institute I have some very exciting personal news! I was recently accepted into Fordham University for their Executive Ed.D. program in Educational Leadership, Administration and Policy! This is mainly one of the reasons I haven't been on here much, I've been caught up with getting myself a solid foundation. (Yeah, I love referencing architecture and the importance of the groundwork... but it is SO true!) I can't say exactly how long it will take me to complete my doctorate, but I'm excited my studies will allow me to continue working for the Camelia Institute.

In other news:

  1. Our latest shipment is en route to the Dominican Republic.
  2. We will be reaching out to the organization we mentioned in the last post to discuss ways of collaboration
  3. We will be reaching out to NY1 one last time. Let's cross our fingers and hope things go well! 

If you have any suggestions, please send me an email @ 

Talk soon! 

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

What's Going on?

Greetings! We thought it to be appropriate to share our love on this commercialized holiday! Not really, we just love spreading love everyday! Today just happened to be a good day to blog.

While the world mourns the loss of Whitney Houston, we have successfully collected 24 items! Unfortunately, due to lack of space- we had to ship it to the Dominican Republic earlier than anticipated. Not such unfortunate circumstances, as what I am about to share.

The Camelia Institute was nominated to be NYer of the week in late December- what an honor! I was in communication with a very friendly reporter, who was going to interview our founding team. She was very much interested in the various aspects of the organization, specifically the community involvement in the collection process.  Because of a time conflict, and a busy schedule for the reporters thereafter, our interview was postponed.

While postponed and cancelled are two very distinct words, one often follows the other. I was really looking forward to spreading awareness of our cause & more importantly getting donations! Let's PLEASE cross our fingers and hope for the best... Even though at the end of the day our hard work was recognized by the nomination!

In other news, the Camelia Institute was approached by a foundation in the Dominican Republic. A collaboration with this foundation can be a great thing for impoverished seniors there. This foundation, who will remain anonymous until a decision has been made, have visited nursing homes throughout the country. They have the staff and information to determine which nursing homes are in dire need of the equipment. On paper this seems like a wonderful thing, however, my team members and I have to discuss how this collaboration will function in the long run. Especially taking into account the fact that we would like to ship equipment to countries worldwide.

Until next time, friends!
Jennifer Hernandez

P.S. Special shout out to our founding member Rafael C. for all of his help. He is truly a valuable asset to the Camelia Institute. We would not be here without all of your help! 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New year!

Oh, yeah!! Happy New Years!! We believe 2012 has a lot of great things in store for the Camelia Institute!

Ready? Set. Go!

New year, more determination!

Business cards are printed for founding members.
Emails have been synchronized with our phones: ;

We now have better access to our phone line: 917.668.7952

Massive planning is underway, we will update soon!