A YOUNG Lutterworth woman is preparing to help tackle poverty in Rwanda.
Lucy Harkins will work alongside Rwandan volunteers to promote better education for young people and sustainable development in the Southern Province of the central African country.
The 22-year-old will be working on a project run by international development organisation International Service as part of the UK aid funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme, which allows young people aged 18 to 25 to contribute to sustainable development projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
She will be based on the outskirts of Huye where she will promote awareness of human rights and sexual health and help marginalised communities set up sustainable co-operatives.
The former Lutterworth College pupil will also be 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 am really looking forward to my volunteering placement in Rwanda and meeting the host family and the local volunteers. I can’t wait to get stuck in and work directly with community groups to gain a real understanding of the problems they face in these developing communities.”
ICS allows young people aged 18 to 25 to contribute to sustainable development projects in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
“I think it’s so important that young people get involved in projects like this. We constantly hear news stories and read things on social media about the issues in developing countries and we can often feel disconnected from it all watching from the TV in the comfort of our own homes.
“I think that by giving their time young people can make a real difference, which is why ICS is such a fantastic opportunity.”
Before Lucy leaves for Rwanda she needs to raise £800 for International Service, which will help to make sure communities in developing countries continue to benefit from the work of future volunteers.
“So far I’ve raised just over £700 of my £800 target. I’ve held a Christmas stall, sold items at car boot sales and held a Christmas coffee morning. Everyone has been so generous, but there’s a little bit further to go.”
On her return to the UK, Lucy will also take on an ‘Action at Home’ project, ensuring that her new skills also benefit the local community. More than 13,000 young people from the UK have taken part in ICS since 2011.
Felicity Morgan, director of ICS, said: “Lucy will be joining thousands of other ICS volunteers who are doing amazing work around the world, every day.
“We’re incredibly proud that UK aid is supporting young Brits bring about positive change in some of the world’s poorest communities. As an organisation working on the frontline against poverty, VSO sees how people across Britain play an important role in delivering UK aid. From the NHS and Army helping end the Ebola crisis, to the millions who donate, and the contribution we all make through taxes, together we are all making the world a fairer, safer place.”