& the birth of Sunny-sideup

Chris Feeney :: Sunday 26th December 2004 :: Latest Blog Posts

India was my first ever experience of being involved in an international project. I learned so much about myself. Never in my life had I seen such poverty and destruction. I worked with a great team of volunteers helping to build a full community in Pondicherry in Chennai, a fishing village totally wiped out by the raging Tsunami of 2004.

It consisted of around 110 houses, community hall and medical centre. Mr Pat Smith (our team leader) inspired me so much on this project. He is a great visionary and was never scared to roll up his sleeves and chip in when needed, getting his own hands dirty. There was no 'us and them' attitude at all. We all worked as an efficient team to achieve our goals and targets. To this day, Pat still inspires me. On every project I have done I always think of my first project in India and Pat's leadership skills and patience when confronted with a tricky situation – it is very normal for things to go wrong or not according to plan on a project- so being patient is very important.

This is where sunny-sid3up was born. I had no name at that point but I knew this was what I wanted to do – help people to help themselves out of the poverty trap, and with a little helping hand and a good foundation to restart and get on with their lives.

Asian Tsunami