When Deanne Berarducci told her parents she was moving to Kenya, her father wasn’t surprised. Berarducci has been talking about moving to Africa since she was a little girl.
She moved there earlier last January after spending time on and off volunteering with several different organizations.
“After feeding the street children one night I just had enough and said ‘I need help, I can’t do this on my own’,” she said.
Berarducci is starting her own non-governmental organization to continue the work she was doing as a volunteer, helping high-risk children.
The name of the organization is Because All Children Matter and it launches in Revelstoke on Sept. 7 at the Selkirk Room at the Regent.
Berarducci will be joined by several of her board members, whom she met while volunteering all over the world.
She first left Revelstoke to volunteer in 2012.
“I was running away from a bad relationship,” she said.
She spent a few months researching which organization to volunteer with and then left for Vietnam, where she spent four months in an orphanage for special needs kids.
In total, there were 411 children. She worked in a room with 38 kids of which only two walked and talked.
“It was heartbreaking and first and then once you retrain your brain that those children could have it worse, they could be on the street, they have nurses that love them, doctors, it was a government-run orphanage so they had their own school, their own kitchens, their own therapies, everything,” she said.
From that first volunteer trip, she was addicted to volunteer travelling.
“Once you do it, it’s the lifestyle, it’s the children, it’s the people you meet, it’s everything,” she said.
In 2014 she went overseas again, this time volunteering in Nepal for five months at three different children’s homes and she has been on and off away from home and abroad since then.
Berarducci’s organization will fundraise to send kids to school and she also hopes to build a shelter for the street kids. They will also facilitate volunteers travelling to Kenya to work at their partner organizations which include a school for the blind and an aging and HIV program.
The organization will set up in-country travel and accommodation. Volunteers will require travel insurance and criminal record checks before being accepted by the organization.
“I think volunteering is something everyone should do, just once in your life,” she said.
The launch event at 6 p.m. is free to attend and there will be auction items including a package from Revelstoke Mountain Resort and a houseboat trip. Because All Children Matter’s website will also launch that day.