Alumni in Action: Aissata Camara (MPA)
With $18, alumna Aissata Camara (MPA-PNP) and her sister founded the There is No Limit Foundation, which empowers the poorest communities to reach their potential by eradicating social barriers and creating economic opportunities.
While visiting the Republic of Guinea in 2008, she was surprised to find that women there believed they lacked skills and therefore didn’t have economic potential. Camara encouraged them to embrace a skill she saw them using every day—tie-dying. To foster their work, she created The Association of Women Tie-Dyers Project with 300 women from Guinea.
Camara helped spread the word about their beautiful work. Eventually, their tie-dye creations were shown at New York Fashion Week, and in fashion magazines like Vogue. They were delighted when First Lady Michelle Obama appeared in public donning their clothing.
While the tie-dye project gained attention, another cause important to Camara arose in public discussion—the little-talked-about practice of female genital cutting in poor communities. To Camara, who survived female genital cutting, the issue is both of women’s rights to their bodies, and an important human rights issue that is too often ignored.
Through her work with the There Is No Limit Foundation, she stood before the United Nations and talked about the issue from a personal standpoint to represent countless others.
Camara came to NYU Wagner to learn how to be “an advocate, a better leader, and a better person.” During her graduate studies, Camara learned how to put theory into practice every day, and that in order to accomplish her international development goals, she must have her feet on the ground. "One of my favorite professors at NYU Wagner told me that in order to do development work, you have to know the people and the community."