T4C Series: What organization matters to you?
This week we hear from one of our Fulfilment Centre facilitators, Audra Worsley:
At the beginning of each school year I sat in a lecture hall as someone stood at the front and shouted enthusiastically up at the class about their summer of volunteering abroad. They went paragliding, partied, got some sweet instagrams, and…oh yeah…visited an orphanage somewhere in there. And you too could do all of this for only $$$$ amount of money.
Not only were these types of “voluntourism” trips waaaay outside my student budget, but it also seemed as though they did ineffective or actually harmful work for the people they were meant to be helping.
When I googled the definition of ‘volunteer’ I found “a person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task”.
This is exactly why I admire All Hands and Hearts. They are a non-profit disaster relief organization with a mission of rebuilding resilient communities following a natural disaster.
They charge their volunteers NOTHING to partake, making their programs significantly more accessible and diverse. By utilising volunteers for unskilled labour, they leave the skilled work for trained locals. Their “Smart Response” system means that they are on the ground immediately after a natural disaster occurs to provide first response relief and then remain long term to ensure that all of the communities’ needs are met.
Last year I spent a few weeks in Sindhupalchowk, Nepal helping the team there who was still rebuilding from the 2015 earthquake. I was amazed at the community involvement- from evening English classes for local children, training unemployed local women in masonry in order to allow them a means of income in the future, and various other projects. It was an incredible experience and I encourage anyone interested in international volunteer work to check out them out. Their website details each of their projects currently happening around the world!