February 29, 2012
I first became associated with All Hands Volunteers following the Great East Japan Earthquake in March 2011. The All Hands staff team arrived just three days after the earthquake and tsunami and stayed to find a way to help while most people were fleeing the country because of uncertainty about radiation. I am proud to have been able to accompany the staff on the first trip to establish the volunteer project. In a part of Japan unaccustomed to foreigners, All Hands showed that they were compassionate, professional and experienced, and that gave confidence to survivors to open their homes, and eventually their hearts, to this organization to let them help. The story in Japan is an incredible one: while All Hands is a relatively small NGO, in Japan they quickly became the name everyone knew, both in the impacted communities for their good work, and in Tokyo (and around the world) where people were looking for a way to contribute and volunteer. I went to volunteer on the project many times, and each time there were more people from all over the world, doing more extraordinary work to support the communities devastated by the tsunami. All Hands Volunteers not only does incredible things for communities in the aftermath of disasters, but it also provides an empowering experience for volunteers. I can’t imagine that anyone who volunteers on an All Hands project will not be changed for the better. I certainly have been.
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MY ROLE:Board Member