All Hands Volunteers is a US-based, non-profit organisation, that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters by engaging volunteers, partner organisations and local communities. It all started when business professional David Campbell spontaneously headed over to Thailand after the devastating tsunami in 2004. He wanted to help in any way possible, but was dismissed by the NGOs that had set up there. Together with other volunteers who had come over to help they started asking the community what they could do for them. Campbell co-founded HandsOnThailand and together with 200 volunteers they rebuild five fishing villages in Phuket. A year later, late 2005, Hurricane Katrina destroyed many homes in the Gulf Coast, hence Campbell and several other HandsOn volunteers went over and established HandsOnUSA. In 2010, HandsOnUSA became All Hands Volunteers. In the past 10 years All Hands has worked on 50 disaster response and rebuild projects in 9 countries around the world.
When I started planning my trip I was already quite set on going to Nepal. The country has always intrigued me with its fantastical lanscapes (the roof of the world!) and colourful culture. I wanted to go trekking and maybe even stay with some Buddhist monks to give meditation a go. But then on the 25th of April 2015 the Ghorka earthquake struck with a 7.8 magnitude, which killed more than 9,000 people and injured another 23,000. Hundreds of thousands of people were made homeless and entire villages flattened. I was shocked, as the rest of the world was, but the first thing that came to my mind was: I want to help. I started searching the web for volunteer programmes and NGOs. However, the NGOs just want people with at least 5 years experience or a medical degree and the volunteer programmes were still focused on teaching English or working in a orphanage and were asking for hundreds of dollars to be able to volunteer there. Then I found All Hands, and this was exactly what I was looking for. All Hands doesn’t charge their volunteers, but they do encourage volunteers to do fundraising for them, by setting up personal fundraising pages. Which I happily did! Have a look at mine here: give.hands.org/linde4nepal.
AHV is now based in Kathmandu and Sindhupalchok where they have been distributing emergency supplies, setting up emergency shelters, constructing child safety zones and learning centers, demolition and clearing of rubble and debris, construction earthquake safe homes, and preserving cultural heritage.
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