I have watched this charity from afar as one of my sons, Dom Bryant volunteered in the Philippines (Project Leyte) in Nov14. His 3 months stint turned into nearly 12. He is full of praise for the organisation and what they achieve, and it has changed his life. I have no doubt he will want to rejoin AHV after a few months away.
I visited the project in the Philippines in August 2015 for a few days and was made very welcome at the various sites where work was going on... I even gave a limited hand on one day shifting buckets of sand, gravel, etc on a new build.
What strikes me about this organisation is its ability to take in enthusiastic volunteers from all parts of the world, in the main with no disaster recovery or building skills, and linked in with local paid workers, create teams that improve the lives of the communities impacted by natural disasters. Apart from volunteers gaining a range of skills from carpentry to teamwork in exchange for their labour, the communities gain what they want (as they are asked), e.g. housing, school buildings, play areas, etc. AHV also works with other NGO's , often through supplying the labour force to turn others funding into the infrastructure required. At its simplest level AHV will clear rubble and mud, plus demolish unsafe buildings if that is what is initially required. They remain flexible in their approach to what needs to be done and take on suggestions from their own volunteers.
This is an organisation that works with people at all levels, and from what I have seen, delivers. The fact that so many volunteers return for further periods with the organisation is a good indicator of its effectiveness, as is the welcome they receive from the communities they are assisting.
Nothing is perfect in this world however, here is an organisation that has good people doing good work.
After researching the charity and looking at their financials I met their CEO and he was extremely motivated and knowledgeable. A real-world ex-CEO who decided to commit his time on helping others. Where there is will and experience the results cannot help but follow!
We first became aware of All Hands when we wanted to help during the Katrina Hurricane clean up but didn’t know where to look. In searching the web for a group to work with, they were the only volunteer organization that stuck out to us as being "Hands On" more than any others that were in the Gulf. We spent several weeks helping with the clean up and saw firsthand how the organization operated. We have never seen a group so organized. They work with the community to access the most important needs. They find the most economical way to stretch the dollar and at the same time maximizing the amount of help needed in a disaster, then deliver. When we returned home from that trip and were overwhelmingly convinced that All Hands Volunteers would be our main donation every year. That holds true by a large margin still today and will continue. We spent a month in Indonesia after the earthquake damaged areas of Sumatra. Again, we saw the importance All Hands was to a community that was hesitant to receive help from the outside. Our leaders worked with the community elders and officials and were able to show by doing, how committed we were to helping them with no hidden agenda - just wanting to help people. Again, we gave money when we returned because we knew where that money went. It does not go to fine dining, nice rental cars, hotels for the workers, expensive tools...it all goes to the basic essentials of getting the job done. The volunteers that they bring in year after year are the hardest group of people i have ever met by far. We are involved in various organizations but non compare to All Hands Volunteers. Their dedication to making this world better for everyone, no matter the color or religion, is what give us all hope. We will continue to volunteer our labor when needed and if we can't we automatically send them money. We trust completely that they will use the money wisely and make the most of it and at the same time, making someone else's life better.
We are donors because we know the importance and impact of HODR’s work; we are donors because we know how frugal HODR is with money; we are donors because we see how efficiently HODR aligns with other groups to extend resources and maximize efficiency; we are donors because we’re also volunteers, seeing first-hand how HODR operates in the field.
Since our first volunteer project with HODR, in Biloxi, Mississippi, we’ve donated to HODR each year. In 2008 we got to work with HODR again in Indonesia and we definitely intend to work with them again. We donate each year and try to increase our donation each year, regardless whether we get to volunteer in a given year. Without reservation, we feel that HODR and the volunteers they support in the field represent the very best of humanity – the unselfish desire to make things better.