St Albans volunteer spends Christmas far away from home to help charity
PUBLISHED: 10:56 04 January 2018
A young woman from St Albans spent Christmas 4,500 miles from home to support people living in poverty.
Rebecca Elkan, 21, is part of a team of young British and Nepali volunteers on an education project in Nepal, which aims to keep children, particularly vulnerable girls, in school.
She travelled to Nepal with international development organisation VSO, as part of the government-funded International Citizen Service (ICS) programme.
Before spending Christmas away from her family, Rebecca said: “I would usually spend Christmas with all my family at my house. My mum and brother (with a little help from dad) cook up a storm to eat. The day is then spent playing games and just spending quality time together. It feels so weird to be away – it feels like it isn’t really Christmas.
“On Christmas Day, all the volunteers in my group are lucky enough to be spending the day together. We’re going to make the day as Christmassy as possible.”
While in Nepal Rebecca has been living with a local family to immerse herself in the culture and community.
She said: “Living in Nepal has been challenging at times, but on the most part, I feel myself learning every day.
“It can be difficult to adjust to different customs and routines, but once you throw yourself in, it can be really eye opening.
“I am working an education project within my community. For me personally, I really believe that education is a fundamental part of childhood and it’s important that we get it right.
“I love the idea of being able to better a child’s opportunities later in life from the help I can offer now. Within the community there are also issues with gender equality, so as a team we have decided to include a campaign to promote woman and their position in the community.”
When Rebecca returns to the UK, she and the other volunteers will complete an ‘action at home’ project to ensure their new skills benefit their local communities.
Felicity Morgan, director of ICS at VSO, said: “Rebecca has joined 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.”
To find out more about ICS or how to apply go to www.volunteerics.org