2008
Rachel Andres
Founder

Jewish Values

“I was encouraged by my parents and grandparents to ‘not stand idly by.’ They taught me that it is the obligation—of each who can—to repair the world and that even small actions matter. Working with the Solar Cooker Project allows me to incorporate these values into my work and life every day.”

Global Impact

Rachel Andres created the Solar Cooker Project (SCP) of Jewish World Watch in 2006. The SCP helped over 100,000 Darfuri refugees by providing 50,000 solar cookers to 5 refugee camps in Chad. The project protected women and girls by reducing their need to leave the relative safety of the camps in search of the firewood needed to cook their meals. This landmark project provided women with income opportunities to manufacture solar cookers, offered training that allowed them to teach others to use the cookers, as well as leadership opportunities in their community. Most importantly, it helped keep them secure and empowered as they built new lives after escaping the genocide in Darfur.

 

Biography

As Founder and Director of the Solar Cooker Project of Jewish World Watch, Rachel Andres’s humanitarian leadership improved the lives of women and girls who fled the genocide in Darfur, Sudan, only to become victims of rape and attack when searching for firewood outside the refugee camps where they thought they were safe. Rachel built a national interfaith coalition that raised funds to provide simple equipment that dramatically reduced the risk of violence in 5 refugee camps in Chad.

She traveled to the camps to bear witness to the genocide and evaluate the project. Together with the U.N. High Commission for Refugees, Solar Cookers International, the Chadian government, on-the-ground NGO Tchad Solaire “Chadian Sun,” and CARE International, they found that the women and girls were taking an astonishing 86% fewer journeys away from the first camp they evaluated, significantly diminishing their danger. Andres presented the findings in Geneva to the Women’s Commission for Refugee Women and Children and to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) Deputy High Commissioner. In January 2017, she was a featured speaker at the Solar Cookers International Conference in Gujarat, India where she shared lessons learned from the SCP and she continues her involvement in the solar cooking world.   

Rachel brought the issue of destructive cults pervasive threat to individuals, families and the entire nation to light as a highly respected national expert on cults. For over a decade,  she served as the Director of the Commission on Cults and Missionaries of the Los Angeles Jewish Federation. She was the Vice President of the only national organization that provided support to families and former cult members and fought to expose destructive cult groups taking on some of the most public and ruthless offenders. She co-edited Cults and Consequences: the Definitive Handbook

Rachel has served as a consultant to non-profit organizations including the Museum of the History of Polish Jews in Warsaw, the Breed Street Shul Project, the Los Angeles-Tel Aviv Partnership, Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and the USC/Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center. 

Currently, Rachel serves as the Chair of the Board of NewGround: A Muslim-Jewish Partnership for Change, a community building organization that creates, connects and empowers Jewish and Muslim change-makers in America. 

Rachel has a B.A. in Political Science from UCLA. Born in Texas, she now lives in Los Angeles, California.

AWARD PRESENTATION

The Morgan Library and Museum | New York. Click here to hear from Rachel what it’s like to a part of the Prize family.
And see below for photo highlights from the evening.