(photo credit: ADI ADAR COURTESY LAISHA MAGAZIN)
Adi Altschuler is a dynamic social entrepreneur who established Krembo Wings, Israel’s first movement integrating youths with and without special needs. She also founded Memories@Home, an alternative national project to commemorate Holocaust Remembrance Day. Both organizations have made a huge impact on Israel.
Altschuler has won a range of prizes for her social innovation, including a Presidential Award for Volunteerism from Shimon Peres in 2009 and the Rappaport Prize for Promising Young Entrepreneur in 2013. In 2014, she was chosen by TIME magazine as one of six future world leaders.
Born in 1986, Altschuler decided she wanted to work with disabled children after volunteering at the age of 11 at ILAN (Israeli Foundation for Handicapped Children) in Hod Hasharon, and taking care of Kobi Kfir, a three-year-old with cerebral palsy who later died. Her vision was boosted when in 2002 she was chosen for LEAD, a youth leadership development program.
She established Krembo Wings (named after the chocolate-coated marshmallow) at the age of 16, serving as its CEO until 2009, and then as honorary president.
Today, some 5,000 youngsters of all ages meet weekly with their mentors at some 50 branches of Krembo Wings across the country.
Altschuler founded the Memories@Home (Zikaron Basalon) project, an initiative to provide Israelis with an alternative way of commemorating Holocaust Remembrance Day through intimate meetings between survivors and members of local communities. This year, more than half-a-million people participated in Zikaron Basalon events in 150 cities in Israel and 50 countries abroad.
Altschuler currently heads Google’s Economic Platform in Israel after previously serving as the country manager of Google for Education, training Israeli teachers how to integrate new technology in their classes.
“It’s all about the way you think and the way you live your life,” she told The Jerusalem Post. “Most of my life, I had failures. You have barriers from the outside. It can be government bureaucracy or people not believing in you, and there are inside barriers, too. But as long as you persist in what you believe in and you have a sense that you serve a higher purpose, then I think every barrier and every challenge can motivate you to continue.”