Rachel Lapierre in Le Book Humanitaire’s office

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AFP

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Rachel Lapierre arrange Le Ebook Humanitaire after successful the lottery

What would you do when you gained the lottery? Purchase a brand new home, a sports activities automotive, or journey the world maybe?

However how many people would use our winnings to arrange a charity?

That’s precisely what Rachel Lapierre, a former Miss Quebec, did again in 2013.

The Canadian all the time cherished volunteering, and after operating her personal modelling company and dealing as a nurse, she was searching for a strategy to observe her idol, Mom Teresa, and dedicate her life to charity.

Then destiny got here knocking when she gained a lifetime wage of C$1,000 (£605) per week within the Quebecois lottery “Gagnant à vie”, or “winner for all times”.

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Andreane Williams

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Ms Lapierre meets a household of Congolese refugees residing in Quebec

“At first I could not consider it, however I did not have a good time or shout it from the rooftop as a result of I had made a promise to the universe and I used to be decided to maintain it.

“I wished to do one thing I cherished for the remainder of my life. I wished to assist others,” she says.

It took Ms Lapierre solely two months to stop her nursing job and launch her personal charity, Le Ebook Humanitaire.

Her non-profit organisation, which is positioned in Saint-Jerome, about 60km north west of Montreal, makes use of social media to attach these in want with individuals who might help.

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Rachel Lapierre

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Ms Lapierre turned Miss Quebec in 1982

On its Fb web page, which has 22,000 followers, those that are struggling can let the group find out about their plight.

On the similar time, members of the general public can promote providers or items they need to donate.

“As an instance that you’ve garments to offer away. We are going to put you in touch with a household that wants these garments and can assist you to go give them your self,” Ms Lapierre explains.

“It is not solely about materials issues. You may find yourself driving a most cancers affected person to a health care provider’s appointment.”

It is a far cry from Ms Lapierre’s former profession within the extra glamorous, and a few may argue consumerist, world of modelling.


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Within the early 1980s she joined an area modelling college the place she was inspired to enter the Miss Quebec magnificence pageant. To her shock, the then-21-year-old gained the competition.

“I assumed modelling was for tall blondes with blue eyes and I used to be brief and brunette… However I’m so glad I entered, it was an important expertise.”

The next 12 months she toured Canada as Miss Quebec and even obtained to fulfill Rene Levesque, the then-premier of Quebec.

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Andreane Williams

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Ms Lapierre meets with a household of Syrian refugees in Saint-Jerome

It impressed her to arrange her personal modelling college in 1984, to show younger ladies construct careers within the business. It had about 10 workers.

“Operating my very own enterprise taught me about accounting and handle staff,” Ms Lapierre says.

She closed the enterprise within the late 1980s to concentrate on citing her 4 youngsters, but in addition devoted herself to voluntary work – making quite a few journeys with humanitarian organisations to locations like India and Haiti.

It was this ardour that led her to arrange Le Ebook Humanitaire 4 years in the past.

This 12 months, the charity has made 15,000 “direct actions” in Quebec, starting from furnishing an condo for a household of Syrian refugees, to discovering a house for a homeless mom who had simply given start.

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Andreane Williams

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The charity donates meals to these in want

She has additionally funded the organisation – which has 10 full-time volunteers and its personal board – completely by herself, investing $70,000 thus far.

“This weekly C$1,000 I get from the lottery permits me to not go to work anymore and finance my organisation,” she says.

“I pay for issues equivalent to our workplace lease and different administrative prices.”

There are limits to Ms Lapierre’s funds, although. After she was interviewed by a well-liked Quebecois tv station earlier this 12 months, Le Ebook Humanitaire noticed an enormous enhance in its Fb followers, from round four,000 to greater than 20,000.

It led to an inflow of requests for assist, in addition to donations, and the charity has struggled to maintain up.

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Andreane Williams

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A volunteer, Ms Lapierre and her sister Guylaine discussing technique on the charity’s workplaces

It must open a number of new services to retailer donated objects, however Ms Lapierre cannot afford to do that alone.

“We’re relying on municipalities to lend us workplaces and make donations,” she says.

“However there are all the time methods to make issues work.”

Jean-Pierre Tchang, the founding father of IRIS Mundial, a non-profit group that works to enhance visible well being in creating nations, says that constructing a profitable charity shouldn’t be straightforward.

“The principle problem is cash and getting funding,” says Mr Tchang, who labored with Ms Lapierre earlier in her volunteering profession.

“You additionally need to know your limits. You can begin feeling overwhelmed by all of the work and overlook oneself… I’m positive Rachel’s nights have to be very brief.”

Regardless of the challenges, Ms Lapierre exhibits no signal of slowing down. She can be taking a workshop class on managing non-profit organisations to get higher at what she does.

She continues to get pleasure from her work, which, she says “is nothing like operating a daily enterprise” and as a substitute “feeds her soul”.

“Volunteering work represents billions of unrecorded the world over. With out it, the world wouldn’t perform.”