February 9, 2012
Looking for a change, I found All Hands (then HODR) working on projects in Pisco, Peru in 2007 after a massive earthquake there. I had practically no experience of disaster relief work, although had volunteered before in Europe, and upon arriving I was reassured and made to feel welcome. HODR became an extended family to me. I started doing work I never thought that I would be able to do. And the most important thing - the most rewarding thing - was seeing how small changes really affect and improve the lives of the people around you who had lost so much. All it needed was some organisation, some direction, lots of elbow grease and lots of dedication. The 4 months volunteering with HODR in Peru convinced me to return to studying architecture after a long break, and to shape my future career around humanitarian and relief work. I have now been living and working in Kosovo for almost 2 years, working with the resettlement of refugees after the wars of the 1990s, and am looking forward to my next posting. None of this would have happened without HODR showing me that hard work pays off. And the friends I made in Peru - well, they've been the closest every since. The best part is visiting them in far-flung places across the world and learning about the work they are all doing there.
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