Construction site in Nepal

In 2015, when a deadly 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, flattening cities and leaving hundreds of thousands of people homeless, Cindy Teo decided to take a step back from her everyday life and travel to that country to help.

For two weeks, Cindy, an AIG actuarial analyst based in London, volunteered with “All Hands and Hearts” to build a school in Nepal from the ground up. The non-profit organization sends volunteers around the world to help communities rebuild and recover in the wake of natural disasters.

Using manual labor, Cindy and about 50 other volunteers excavated and hauled massive amounts of dirt without the help of tractors, dug the foundation of the building by hand and worked on other construction projects for the school. The team’s efforts were especially meaningful to the local communities because Nepal had few accessible roads after the earthquake, which made it especially difficult for government resources to reach small villages.

Cindy said she found the two weeks of rigorous physical toil rewarding, and that she especially treasured getting to volunteer with people who came from different walks of life, but were all working toward the same goal, and with the same passion.

She also valued the time spent with local residents, many of whom came to the construction site every day to watch volunteers work.

“The benefit of all the hard work was interacting with members of the community where I volunteered, and being able to see the joy and excitement among villagers,” Cindy said.

This project is supported by AIG’s volunteer programme.

Find out more