Global aid agency recruits 120 volunteers in Toronto

In the wake of disasters in Japan, Haiti and Pakistan, one Toronto organization dedicated to providing international relief recruited more than 100 new volunteers over the weekend.
Volunteers with the Toronto-based international relief organization GlobalMedic provided aid following the earthquake and tsunami that struck Japan this year. ((GlobalMedic.ca))

In the wake of disasters in Japan, Haiti and Pakistan, one Toronto organization dedicated to providing international relief recruited more than 100 new volunteers over the weekend.

Trainers with GlobalMedic, which has more than 500 volunteers, were met by a crowd of 120 people willing to give their time to help others at an annual skills-development session in the city.

GlobalMedic recently provided emergency aid after a tsunami and earthquake rocked Japan.

Organizers said the additional volunteers come at a time when recent global disasters have stretched relief resources.

Var Shina was among the new recruits, who watched an experienced volunteer show how to start a water-purification machine.

'I'll be able to do this'

Shina first learned of GlobalMedic when she saw how the organization responded in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami that hit Southeast Asia. 

"I was really amazed by the work that they did, and how fast they got there," she said, adding that she was confident her training would prepare her for a future overseas mission.

"You feel like,'I think I'll be able to do this when I do go somewhere.'"

Nanthagopan Kanagalingam was born in Sri Lanka, where half a million people were displaced by the 2004 tsunami. He said joining Global Medic for him was about giving back.

Matt Capobianco, who worked in March with GlobalMedic after the Japanese earthquake, said the work can be gruelling but also rewarding.

"When you're there, and immersed in it, and you're working side by side with local people, 18 hours a day, sweating it out, you really get to know what the country's about," Capobianco said.