Working with communities hit by natural disasters has had a humbling affect on Sanchia Gallagher and during Volunteer Week, she encourages others to give their time to help those in need.
When the 39-year-old from Leigh booked her round-the-world trip, she never thought it would change her quite so much.
Rather than be the break that she anticipated, it led her to spend the next ten years travelling the world helping people suffering in the wake of a disaster and learn a lot about herself.
Inspired by her sister’s travels and the fact she was approaching thirty, Sanchia decided to book her own trip, starting in Thailand.
But three months before she was due to arrive, the Tsunami hit.
She said: “Rather than change my route, I decided to help in any rebuilding work for a week or two, before heading off to the beaches.
“But once there, rather than finding it tough and something to endure, I found it to be a very special and inspiring time.
“Villagers and travellers became close friends, more like family, working together to rebuild the village and a week turned into months.”
After returning to work as a training consultant, she later volunteered in Haiti working alongside Shelterbox, the UK-born charity that helps provide shelter to people across the world in the wake of disasters.
She quickly put herself forward to be a volunteer at ShelterBox and passed the gruelling nine-day assessment.
Her first deployment was to Senegal where there was flooding. She worked with local charities to ensure that the affected population had assess to shelter. She has since been to the Philippines, Nepal, Turkey and Fiji.
Her experiences helping others has also led her learn more about herself.
She said: “I have been amazed by my inner strength. When arriving to a country faced with flood, hurricane or earthquake, I can find herself in difficult, distressing and emotional situations. But I am able to stay focused and determined to deliver the best help possible. The decisions I’m making whilst on a deployment have a big impact. Deciding on how our aid is distributed and what impact that has can be daunting.”