A VOLUNTEER from Solihull sends back stories from South Africa and encourages more to engage in aid work.
Lucy Price, 26, from Solihull, is undertaking voluntary work in a community 20km from Durban.
She is leading a team of young volunteers who are working on a project to support a township community affected by low levels of employment and high levels of drugs and alcohol abuse.
She is four weeks into her five month stint in South Africa.
She is a former Langley Secondary School and Solihull Sixth Form College student.
She travelled to South Africa with international development organisation Tearfund, as part of the International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, funded by the UK government.
She is engaging in community programmes that will develop the literacy levels of local children, workshops to equip unemployed adults to create CVs, develop their interview skills and encourage them to consider the available employment options.
In addition, Lucy’s group is providing IT classes that will develop community members’ employability.
They are also running playgroups for vulnerable children in the community.
A large part of their work involves working with local community members who are keen to utilise the limited urban space to create sustainable vegetable gardens which will provide necessary food for the community.
Lucy is living with a local host family, to fully immerse herself in the local community and gain a better understanding of the challenges they face.
Lucy said: “I have never experienced a sense of community quite like that which I have been able to be part of during my time here in South African. But I have also observed the way in which the lack of employment, lack of opportunities and substance abuse affects the whole community.
“My time here has brought some eye opening perspective as to the immense opportunity and choice we have available in the UK.
“Through our work we aim to work with all generations as we have observed how the issues faced here can begin to be addressed from a young age.
“We have recognised how the lack of or poor schooling affects the education level of children.”
“When I return to the UK at the beginning of June, I’ll take on an Action at Home project and do something to benefit my own community in Solihull.”
Before she left for South Africa, Lucy raised £800 for VSO, which will go towards ensuring communities in developing countries benefit from the work of future volunteers.
To find out more about ICS or to apply, visit www.volunteerics.org.