Launceston woman Piia Wirsu recently raised $23,000 for her Tas Nepal Rebuild project. The keen bushwalker travelled to Nepal in June to walk blankets, food and other supplies she had bought with the donated funds, into three villages that were affected by Nepal’s massive earthquake in April. The Sunday Examiner’s MANIKA DADSON spoke to Ms Wirsu about the trip and about how she is now helping others raise funds for their own initiatives.
PIIA Wirsu has proved if you put your mind to something and with the right support, you can achieve it.
Ms Wirsu, a documentarian and keen bushwalker, recently raised $23,000, which she used to buy blankets, food and protection for three villages in Nepal, that were affected by the country’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake on April 25.
Ms Wirsu was in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu when the destructive earthquake hit and it was seeing the devastation it left behind, which made her start the Tas Nepal Rebuild project and return to the country with the money she had raised in June.
‘‘We were able to do everything we wanted to do and more,’’ Ms Wirsu said. ‘‘We were able to help three different villages in the Gorkha region.
‘‘One of the villages had to completely relocate. They had nothing and were living under tarps basically when we got there.
‘‘We bought (roofing) zinc, we bought food, we bought blankets and mattresses and took them up to the three villages.’’
Ms Wirsu and travel partner Gary Hayes drove to the first village, but a ‘‘rudimentary mud’’ track meant they had to hike the rest of the way.
Ms Wirsu said the experience was overwhelming and it was heart-warming that Tasmanians contributed $23,000 to the project.
‘‘I started out thinking $5000, I’d be really happy to go back with that and that would make it worth my while,’’ Ms Wirsu said.
‘‘Then it kept growing and growing.
‘‘I definitely want to go back and I’ve set up an ongoing commitment to these three villages.’’
Ms Wirsu will share more of her story and how she made her fundraising campaign a success at a crowdfunding masterclass at Saint John Craft Beer on Sunday.
Hosted by Startup Tasmania, the masterclass will run from 3pm to 6pm and cost $40.
Startup Tasmania vice-president and ABC presenter Polly McGee will also share her crowdfunding story, which saw her publish her first novel Dogs of India earlier this year.
All profits from the book went to charity Vets Beyond Borders and more copies will be available in November.
Dr McGee said the aim of the masterclass was to give people the right tools to craft their own crowdfunding campaigns.
‘‘If you’ve got an idea that’s not proven, crowdfunding is a brilliant way to build prototype and take it to the next level,’’ she said.
Proceeds from the masterclass will go to Ms Wirsu’s Tas Nepal Rebuild project.
Ms Wirsu hopes to return to Nepal early next year.
WHAT: Crowdfunding masterclass featuring Piia Wirsu and Polly McGee.
WHEN: Today. From 3pm until 6pm.
WHERE: Saint John Craft Beer, Launceston.
TICKETS: Cost $40 at the door. All profits go to Piia Wirsu’s ongoing Tas Nepal Rebuild project.