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International aid worker to spend next week at University

Leading international aid worker to spend next week at the University of Canterbury

July 28, 2014

A leading international humanitarian aid worker will be talking to students at the University of Canterbury next week to encourage them to get out into the world and people in need.

British aid worker Linda Cruse will spend a week on campus from August 4 talking to various university people, business academics, groups and volunteer army students about how they can make a difference in the world.

Cruse has managed to accomplish what many people dream of but few accomplish. Cruse helped people in the Philippines following the 2013 typhoon. She has responded to other natural disasters in third world countries like the 2004 Asian tsunami and the 2005 Pakistan earthquake.

``The Asian tsunami was emotionally very challenging. The scale of death and grief was vast. We gave a hand up to many hundreds of families,’’ Cruse says.

``I firstly used my nursing skills in the survivors’ camp in order to understand the real needs of the people. The people survived the wave but their means of feeding their families had gone. The adults were helpless and hopeless. It was livelihood recovery that needed to be addressed and as fast as possible.’’

Cruse has also worked with Tibetan, Afghan, Burmese refugees and other challenged communities in the deserts of Uzbekistan, the jungle of the Amazon, and the mountain nomads in the Himalayas and Atlas mountains. Her work has been actively supported by Prince Charles, the Dalai Lama and Sir Richard Branson.

``I have a reputation of facilitating a sustainable hand up in communities following a disaster with my main focus in livelihood recovery. Getting families back on their feet, independent again is something few aid agencies focus on. Most are involved in the emergency phase.

``I have provided humanitarian aid work in Thailand, India, Sri Lanka, Tibet, Vietnam, Philippines, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Peru, Kenya, Morocco, China, Nicaragua, Burma and Nepal. Pakistan was the most challenging and the most rewarding.

``My work has not ended, or paused on the frontline. Most recently have worked with Berbers in the Atlas Mountains on health, education and livelihood and in the Philippines post-typhoon on livelihood recovery and health.

``My work is ever evolving. I lead groups through my Business Leaders on the Frontline to experience life on the frontline and to assist in positive change in challenged communities.

``Encouraged by Richard Branson, I wrote a book Marmalade and Machine Guns to share my inspirational story with people. It has been signed as a movie and has catapulted me to realise that it is time to share my 14 years of experience, insight and knowledge in different ways so I can leave my legacy.

``The move has been optioned as a feature film in Hollywood by Paramount. Liz Trubridge, the executive producer of Downton Abbey is the movie’s creative producer. Downtown Abbey stars have backed my campaign – and the book. View here:

``I am writing other books, give keynotes and have decided to link with educational establishments such as the University of Canterbury to share the model.’’

``My life is a mixture of both sweet and sour. I work with princes and presidents and meet in boardrooms and palaces, but I also find myself in the middle of conflict, death and tragedy. I straddle two very different worlds.’’

Cruse was invited to the university and Christchurch through a successful Kiwi businesswoman in London and UC graduate Katherine Corich. She met pivotal university personnel in London earlier this year and decided to visit the university next month and meet its emerging leaders and others who could benefit from her work and experience.


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