TWO local students are doing their bit to aid the suffering of the people of Africa by volunteering their time to go out and offer hands on assistance.
Jemma Dolan (23) from Brollagh, a media student at the University of Ulster, Coleraine will be working in Ethiopia for Habitat for Humanity Northern Ireland, while Cora Sanderson from Enniskillen will be travelling to South Africa through a project run by John Moores University in Liverpool where she studies.
Jemma told the Herald how she and 21 of her fellow students, including representatives from Fermanagh will undertaking building work with locals to break the cycle of poverty by eliminating poverty housing and homelessness in the area. Leaving on June 7 she will be working a community for three weeks.
“The idea of being part of this team has attracted me since joining the University in 2009 but I always seemed to miss the deadline for applying or be too busy around the time the team was due to be away. As my time in the University of Ulster comes to an end, this year is essentially the last opportunity I have to go and it is also ‘third time lucky’ so I thought why not?”
Working six day weeks in temperatures up to 35 degrees and dealing with locals with various diseases including leprosy will be a challenge, but Jemma is relishing what she believes will be a ‘life changing experience’.
“Naturally, I am a little anxious too as I will be totally out of my comfort zone. No running water, lots of ‘bugs’ and poverty are not something I can say I am used to. I have a young niece and nephew too so I think seeing the poverty stricken children will be tough.”
She continued: “Previous teams have cautioned us about the emotions we will feel when there – the ups and downs and the tears and the laughter, but they have assured us it is worth every minute.”
As part of her fundraising Jemma is hosting a Fight Night in conjunction with Bundoran Boxing Club on Saturday January 25 in the Great Northern Hotel, Bundoran at 8pm. Tickets are £10/ €10 and available from Jemma, Ocean View Beauty Salon or any member of the Dolan family.
Cora Sanderson is leaving on February 14 for Cape Town for just under two weeks. The work she will be doing supports two main charities, one in Africa, HUGS and another in South Africa AFRITWIN.
“Doing a degree in Mathematics and Education, I felt it would be a great experience, for both my possible future career and life in general,” she told the Herald.
“I will be teaching children English and Maths and of course, I am very excited to be going.”
And what does she hope to get out of it?
“Experience, memories and probably some sunburn! My goal is simple, to help these kids as much as I can. Education is a vital part of childhood and unfortunately it is not equal worldwide (yet).”
So far Cora has arranged a bag pack in Asda Enniskillen and is planning to do some fundraising with the University rugby team.
“She is also indebted to her parents for their support in attaining sponsorship.
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