April 28, 2015 8:31 pm

Okanagan group heading to Nepal

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KELOWNA –Okanagan home builder Kevin Edgecombe has been travelling to Nepal for the past five years building schools and educational facilities for marginalized women. 

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 “The Nepalese people are magical people,” says Edgecombe.  “They have nothing, but give you everything. They have the kind of grace we could all take lessons from.”

Edgecombe is the president of a charity called Intercultural Women’s Education Network (IWEN).  News of the massive earthquake came as a shock to Edgecombe Saturday morning. 

“The irony of the story was the night before, I was having dinner with charity staff and some friend and we were discussing Nepal and as fate would have it I actually said that night, I would hate to be in Kathmandu during an earthquake,” says Edgecombe.  “It ran shivers up my spine because I just said that the night before.  As a matter of fact, it had already happened.  I did not know it happened at the moment I said that.”

Edgecombe, along with 18 other Canadians, is heading to Nepal in mid-May. The annual trip was scheduled long before the earthquake struck, but now will be an aid mission, as they provide needed help as the country begins the daunting task of cleaning up and moving forward.

“If we are digging through rubble that’s fine.  If we are simply supporting the food lineup, great.  Whatever it takes, he says.

Ten of the volunteers heading with Edgecombe are from the Okanagan, including Suzanne Pugh. manager of the Kelowna branch of the SPCA.

“I think the scenes of devastation will be tough not to mention for someone in the work that I do, the loss of animal life will hit home too but it is something we are committed to,” says Pugh.

With two weeks left before they go, the group is now organizing local fundraisers, starting with a huge bottle drive this weekend in Kelowna.   

“We are looking for volunteers to help sort bottles.  We will make a day of it.  We hope the whole community jumps behind this thing and we fill several trucks full of bottles,” says Edgecombe.

The bottle drive will take place this Saturday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. at the old Western Star Plant site on Enterprise Way. 

For more information on IWEN, click here. If you can’t make it to the bottle drive but would like to support IWEN’s earthquake relief efforts, click here.

Cheque donations can be sent to:

IWEN Canada

PO Box 30034 RPO Glenpark

Kelowna, BC

V1V 2M4

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