By David F. Rooney
First bitten by the volunteer bug in 2009 when Haiti was flattened by four tropical storms and then again after the 2010 earthquake, Charise Folnovic is flying to Nepal at the end of August to assist in that country’s efforts to recover from its own monster quake.
“I like physical labour,” the willowy photographer said in an interview. “I like to get my hands dirty.”
She’s hoping Revelstokians will decide to pitch in, too, by donating to the efforts of the All Hands Volunteers group which is involved in the recovery efforts in Nepal. All Hands describes itself this way: “All Hands Volunteers is a US-based, non-profit organization, that addresses the immediate and long-term needs of communities impacted by natural disasters by engaging volunteers, partner organizations and local communities. We aim to demonstrate the power and value of volunteerism through the tangible work done, the hope it brings to suffering communities, and the transformative experiences it provides for volunteers.”
“The scale of destruction is unimaginable,” Charise said in an interview this week.
The earthquakes of April 25 and May 12 destroyed 785,000 homes, displaced 2.8 million people and, overall, affected more than 8 million people. All Hands volunteers like Charise will be out there in the areas of destruction, helping clear rubble and rebuild homes and schools before this winter. (Please click here to see what All Hands does.)
Charise is an adventurous young woman. When she graduated from the Alberta College of Art and Design in 2008 she travelled through the Middle East, then in 2009 she volunteered to help out in Haiti, which had just been smashed by four major tropical storms.
“I spent a lot of time clearing landslides, shoveling mud out of houses and such,” she said. “After the earthquake in 2010 I ended up going back twice, doing two six-week stints of relief work.”
As a transformative experience her volunteer work in disaster zones was second to none. Her mother had taught her the value of volunteerism when she was a young girl, but the scale of need evident in Haiti (and now Nepal) was so overwhelming it immediately triggered her sense of compassion and eagerness to help.
Charise hopes Revelstokians will pitch and help, too.
“We can help them as people of one mountain town to another,” she said. “I like to think that if our roles were reversed they’d reach out to us.”
She is embarking on a small-scale fundraising campaign here in town and, over the next nine weeks she hopes to organize difference activities we can join in to raise money for All Hands. For instance you can make a donation directly to All Hands Volunteers (Click here to do that!) or if you’d like to directly support her efforts (she has to raise the money she needs to fly to Nepal at the end of August) you can do that by clicking here.
You may also see Charise at a table near the Saturday Farm and Craft Market. She’ll be happy to tell you about her project.