Holly Kennedy-Symonds, a registered nurse, is a volunteer with our Vancouver chapter. She travelled to Nepal in 2019 to serve through HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corp. We asked her a few questions about her volunteer experience and are proud to share the conversation with you. Continue reading “Holly Kennedy-Symonds’ Healing Journey To Nepal”
HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps Interview Questions
HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps’ main purpose is SERVICE in communities around the world. Volunteers gather from around the world to restore communities badly affected by material poverty; they teach children, train teachers, mentor youth, rebuild areas that have felt the impact of natural disasters among other areas. Each year, several volunteers from HOPE worldwide Canada offer to travel and to serve on several of these programs, some locally, others internationally.
We had a chance to catch up with one of our Halifax volunteers, Mackenzie Jessen, who travelled to Nepal and served there in July and August of 2019, and we wanted to ask her about her experience serving there.
First, thank you for volunteering on the recent HVC in Nepal! We could not do what we do without eager, dedicated volunteers like yourselves. What initially drew you to volunteer with on this Volunteer Corps?
For this particular HVC I wanted to go on it to challenge myself and travel to a place I never thought I’d visit ever before. As well wanting to go to use my strengths in leadership and to learn new ways to serve than I had done on previous trips.
What was your favourite part of volunteering on the HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps?
My favourite part of volunteering was the excitement of the children’s faces whenever they saw us come to visit them and play games, their joy is so contagious and something I don’t get to see quite often, and feeling like us being there does impact their days. As well as, when I was helping with a computer class and teaching Photoshop to some students, I was able to learn things I didn’t even know from the students and it felt very accomplishing to see them grow and learn with something I take for granted every day.
Is there something you have learned or observed about the communities that we serve in that has helped you or had an impact on you in some way?
The biggest thing I noticed about serving in Nepal is how resilient the communities are, their drive that they have to work and learn is so amazing and they really don’t seem to take life for granted.
Is there a particular motto or thought that motivates you to volunteer with HOPE worldwide and can you share a bit more about that?
I’m just striving to be more like Jesus and serve in a way that can help me see the love the world has and the love that I can give. From this it gave me the chance to apply to become a GSI and allow myself to motivate others to do the same!
Thank you so much for taking the time to answer our questions. Is there anything else you would like to add?
HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps offers such a great opportunity and I honestly feel everyone should go on an HVC in their life no matter their age, it is such a life changing experience like no other.
Update: Since coming back from the HVC in Nepal, Mackenzie applied to, and was accepted into the HOPE worldwide Volunteer Corps Global Service Intern (GSI) Leadership development and training program; and will be helping lead the HVC to the Bahamas this coming July! She is also an active volunteer in her local HOPE worldwide Canada – Halifax Chapter.
Generous donors from around the world contributed in the wake of disaster
“It is more blessed to give than to receive” – Acts 20:35
On Monday November 19th, 2018 a joyful crowd made up of local and international stakeholders gathered together to celebrate the inauguration of the “HOPE worldwide Chhaimale Village Project.” This building is nestled amongst the rolling hills, covered with pear-laden fruit trees, in the beautiful mountain foothills about 2 hours southwest of Kathmandu, Nepal.
Back in April 2015, when I wrote a cheque to help during the global outpouring of compassion in the aftermath of the massive earthquakes that struck Nepal, I had no idea that later I would be privileged to have a front row seat to how these funds would be used. Donations from hundreds of people in dozens of churches across Canada, the UK, the US, and around the world, allowed a hope and a prayer, to become a dream, which eventually became the project that is now a Village Centre. This centre will fulfill the vision of “bringing hope, changing lives” in a village that was devasted and forever changed by those earthquakes.
My personal journey along the way is one of a unique opportunity that demonstrated God’s love and power, greatly encouraged me with the power of “brotherhood” and allowed my faith to both be stretched and to grow as I witnessed the Almighty’s ability to “move mountains” to accomplish His plan.
Early in 2016 I joined the Board of HOPE worldwide Canada, which allowed me to serve in a somewhat “official” capacity when our family travelled to Nepal in December 2016 to participate in the HOPEww Volunteer Corps that was taking place in Kathmandu. Back then, the plans were coming together for the best use of these Earthquake Disaster Relief funds that had been collected, based on the needs being assessed by HOPE worldwide Nepal on the ground. Even then, obstacles began to emerge, which led to further re-evaluation, global collaboration and many prayers and discussions.
The end result was a global collaboration and partnership rallying around a common need with a common purpose, which demonstrated the power of unity, brotherhood and family. I am so grateful for the many around the world that I have gotten to know, have become dear friends with and have learned so much from during this journey together. My fear is that I may omit some, and for that, I apologise in advance, but I am so grateful for Anu Dangol (HOPE worldwide Nepal), Chandra Sekaran (HOPE foundation India), Charles Ham (HOPE worldwide), Nadine Templer (HOPE worldwide), Barbara Porter (HOPEww Global), Jane Whitworth (HOPE worldwide UK), the support of the leadership and Board of HOPE worldwide Canada, with a very special “Thank You!” / धन्यवाद (Dhan’yavāda) to John Partington (HOPE worldwide UK) who laboured tirelessly as the Project Manager and whose wisdom and expertise pulled this all together.
Observing this process along the way, reminded me of the verse in Psalm 125:2, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forevermore.” As the mountains around Nepal are a constant reminder of the Lords surrounding love and faithfulness to his people, I recall an event that John Partington shared with me. There had been initial plans for the harvested pears to produce jam at the Village Centre, when a ‘chance’ conversation with the hotel manager at the Chhaimale Pear Tree Resort led to a meeting with the owner of the resort, Bijay Shrestha, who also happens to run a fruit processing factory in Kathmandu. This meeting led to Bijay’s support and collaboration for the pear processing, product development, branding, packaging and distribution of the fruits that the Village Project will produce.
What is so encouraging about this Village Project is that the profits from the pear processing factory, which will employ local villagers, will cover the ongoing annual operation costs of the Village Centre. The Centre also includes a rainwater harvesting system, as well as classrooms to teach computer skills and English for the villagers, a community room for various local needs as well as host a community based micro-loan facility for local farming purposes.
We are heading back to Nepal this coming July 27-August 10th for a HOPEww Volunteer Corps…if you have a background or skills in the medical or education field and/or have a passion to serve others, please consider joining us! See you in Kathmandu!
For more information and to sign up visit:
Here is a video of the opening ceremony:
In 2015 a powerful earthquake struck Nepal, killing nearly 9,000 people and injuring 22,000 others across the nation. It was the worst natural disaster to strike Nepal in over 80 years and was soon followed by a second 7.1 magnitude quake 21 days later.
The HOPE School in Kathmandu became a shelter for approximately 80 families in the immediate area who had lost their homes. Many countries and organisations across the world responded to this tragedy.
Three years after the earthquake devastated Nepal, many communities are still struggling to survive and restore their livelihood. Many people lost their families, and crops are still severely affected.
In the village of Chhaimale, 25 kilometres from Kathmandu, about 8,000 people live on the steep slopes, barely surviving in makeshift corrugated tin sheds. Roads to the village are very poor and the pledge of money to rebuild their homes has not been forthcoming. Farmers have to borrow money from loan agents to purchase seeds and cover household expenses but the cost of borrowing is putting the farmers further and further into debt.
Bringing HOPE to Nepal
After the earthquake, HOPE worldwide Nepal helped the village with material resourses and started the contruction of the “HOPE worldwide Nepal Chhaimale Village Center and Factory.” The aim was to help the community with long term, sustainable solutions to rise out of the poverty trap.
We are pleased to announce that, with your generous donations and HOPE worldwide UK, HOPE Worldwide Ltd, construction of the centre is now near completion. The Center will help in sustainable development by adding value to the farmers cash crops and also to reduce the costs of loans. HOPE worldwide Nepal will manage the Factory and Community Centre on a “not for profit” basis while all funds generated will be used to maintain and develop the centre. In addition to processing fruit, making jam and pickles, the centre will also provide training classes for farm development, computer, and English classes.
This has been a truly international partnership between HOPE worldwide UK, HOPE worldwide Ltd and HOPE worldwide Canada in assisting HOPE worldwide Nepal with the assessment, development and funding of the construction of the Chhaimale Village Center.
Thank you to Canada
We are grateful for all the donations received from the Canadian International Churches of Christ and their members across Canada. They responded with massive outpouring of donations to HOPE worldwide Canada to assist the people of Nepal. With your help, the Chhaimale Centre is planned to be completed and opened in June 2018.
We hope you are encouraged by the following quotes from around the world about our support and partnership:
“I want to take the time to sincerely thank you all the brothers and sisters, Canadian Churches for your donation to Nepal. Thanks again for your outstanding support and generosity. I appreciate you making the effort to come to our Village Project for the Earthquake relief. By the Grace of God, we had an amazing turnout and we managed to bring more in donations for this project. Your attendance and support have played an important role in our project. With your contribution, we’ll be able to help the earthquake affected villagers. We and the villagers are very happy and grateful to you. The villagers can now reap benefits in many ways through this project in the areas of education, training, support etc.”
Anu Dangol, Program Coordinator, HOPE worldwide Nepal
“It is wonderful and pleases God whenever people in need receive special care and experience the compassion of Christ. The Chhaimale Center in Nepal will be such a blessing for many people for many years to come. The fact that the Chhaimale Center is the fruit of so much love and sacrifice as well as of the collaboration of brothers and sisters in Canada, the US, the UK, Australia and Nepal makes this labor of love even more powerful. It has been a privilege and tremendous source of joy to me personally, to be part of this tremendous endeavor.”
Barbara Porter, Governance Officer, HOPE worldwide ltd.
” It has been very encouraging to work together with HOPE worldwide in Canada, Nepal and the US, combining resources and expertise to develop the Chhaimale Centre which will have a long-term impact in the local community. We have developed a very positive relationship with HOPE worldwide Canada. It has been great to work in partnership, learning from each other and working with Nepal towards a common goal. We look forwards to continuing to work together on this, and hopefully on future projects.”
Wil Horwood, Chief Executive, HOPE worldwide – UK
“The earthquake in Nepal devastated the country and villages. Helping the people survive after the earthquake was influential as the supporters of HOPE worldwide participate globally and in Canada. Thank you for your compassion for the people of Nepal. What is more exciting for me is not only helping the people of Nepal survived the impact of earthquake, but to rebuild better. The initiative that HOPE worldwide Nepal is doing in rebuilding Chhaimale village is going to benefit the people in the long term. We all hope that the center of hope there will be bridging the poverty and disaster preparedness for the future as well. Once again, thank you for the generous supports!”
Charles Ham, Global Disaster Response Coordinator, HOPE worldwide
Thank you again for your love, generosity, partnership and support!