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Former Beaconhills College student Genevieve Polderman was one of the Australians volunteering in Nepal when the 7.8 earthquake hit on April 25.
Having witnessed first-hand the devastation it caused to the communities where she had worked, she has now launched a campaign to raise money to provide food, water and first aid supplies to villages nearest the epicentre.
Her ‘Snipping for Nepal Appeal’ will see her cut 50cm from her hair to raise $3000 for the cause. She plans to donate her hair to ‘Pantene Beautiful Lengths’ to make wigs for cancer patients.
Genevieve said the funds she raises will be distributed by Sudip Koirala, who is the president of the Leo Lions Club Nepal and from the host family where she stayed while volunteering in Kathmandu.
The earthquake struck just a day before Genevieve was due to return home from a wonderful month, working at an orphanage run by the Didi Foundation, the Bright Future Childrens’ Home.
Genevieve graduated from the Pakenham Campus last year and decided to take a gap year after being accepted into International Studies at Deakin University.
She was always involved in community service activities at school such as Relay for Life and was a regular Blood Bank donor.
After hearing about the Bright Future Childrens’ Home through its founder, Jan Pryor – her mother’s friend – she decided to volunteer in the orphanage, teaching crafts and working in the womens’ co-operative centre helping out in IT classes, sewing and the library. The orphanage is in a small town called Pepsi Cola, named after the town’s factory.
Genevieve was at the Bright Future Childrens’ Home having a party when the earthquake struck.
“It went on for about a minute,” she said. “I wasn’t so much scared as had a lot of adrenalin.”
She spent about three hours with them in an open space immediately afterwards, then the night sleeping outside before having to battle a huge crush of people at the airport the next day to make her flight out of the region.
“We all saw things that no one should ever have to see or experience,” she said. “Having to leave my host family and the Bright Future Childrens’ Home was more heart-wrenching.”
She said with 40,000 homes destroyed and more than 8000 people killed, donations are vital to help the Nepalese people in their time of need, particularly now the area has just recently experienced a second 7.3 magnitude earthquake.
Genevieve plans to have her hair cut at the Pakenham Campus on 25 May once her fundraising goal is reached, but is considering extending the goal to raise even more money.
If you would like to donate, go to her fundraising page.
Sudip Koirala, president of the Leo Lions Club Nepal and Genevieve’s host, hands out food after the earthquake.
Tennis School coach to run for Nepal
Head of the College’s Tennis School of Excellence Brett Hillier is also doing his bit for Nepal, taking part in a 150km fundraising run.
Together with his friend Darren Cordy, Brett will start the run from Foster on 22 May and run through the day and night, arriving in Upper Beaconsfield on 23 May at the local tennis club for a party and barbecue.
Proceeds from the barbecue will go to CARE Australia to help rebuild Nepal. $10,000 is the fundraising goal.
Brett said he has visited Nepal twice and knows it is a country with limited infrastructure and ability to cope with an earthquake disaster.
“Thousands are dead, homes have been lost and the country is in shock,” he said. “To help Nepal is the only just thing to do.”
You can donate to Brett Hillier’s fundraiser here.
To find out more contact Brett.Hillier@beaconhills.vic.edu.au
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