For Renay Eng-Fisher, the health of the planet and human beings are inseparable.
A graduate of the Master of Arts in Environmental Education and Communication degree program (2006), Eng-Fisher works tirelessly to help others – and the environment – in rural China and in the Calgary area.
“My master’s program expanded my world view - no question about it - about environmental issues, and about the need for advocacy work,” she says. “An important part of advocacy work is to understand impacts on the environment but also on human health.”
In honour of her father, an orphan from the village of Nam On in Guangdong province, Eng-Fisher founded the Eco Village of Hope Society (EVHS) in 2007. EVHS is a non-profit organization that supports the health and well-being of children in isolated and impoverished villages in China, and focuses on projects where health and ecological needs overlap.
“As I began to learn about life in China, I became aware of the countless orphans who were suffering or dying in poorly run orphanages. I was moved to help these abandoned children in any way I could,” she says.
Since its inception, EVHS has funded and delivered ‘nanny nurture’ programs for young women to care for children in need, established clean water and sanitation systems and provided solar lights to energy-poor villages, among other projects. The group is now fundraising to develop and bring biodigesters to leprosy recovery villages, in order to provide simultaneous solutions to sanitation and fuel resource issues.
Closer to home, Eng-Fisher has spearheaded benefit concerts for the Okotoks and Red Deer food banks since 2008, plays upright bass in a bluegrass band and has her own baking show on Shaw TV Calgary. And after a career as a senior environmental health and safety advisor for Suncor Energy, Eng-Fisher now runs her own environmental consultancy in Calgary.