Climbing for Afghan children

This summer Nathan Butt (28) of Lismore, Longford, will embark upon the adventure of a lifetime. The third-year UCD student will travel to Kabul, Afghanistan, and there he will work for almost two months for an international children’s charity, Aschiana (www.aschiana.com). This charity caters for the needs of some 7,000 children living in that city.

This summer Nathan Butt (28) of Lismore, Longford, will embark upon the adventure of a lifetime. The third-year UCD student will travel to Kabul, Afghanistan, and there he will work for almost two months for an international children’s charity, Aschiana (www.aschiana.com). This charity caters for the needs of some 7,000 children living in that city.

In preparation for this life-changing experience, Nathan is holding a number of fund-raising initiatives – the first of which kicks off on Saturday, June 16 next when he climbs Croagh Patrick mountain, County Mayo.

“I’ve hired a mini-bus and we’re heading off from Longford at 7am. I’m bringing my dog ‘Zissou’ with me. There are six others joining us on the climb but there is plenty of place for others to come along,” said the former St. Mel’s College student. Upon returning to Longford Pizza Hut will be supplying the climbers with some welcome warm pizza.

In addition, Nathan is looking for donations of children’s clothing.

“I want to bring over clothing for children but it’s tricky for girls as they cannot wear western clothes. I’m asking members of our Asian community if they have second-hand clothes that would be appropriate, to please contact me,” said Nathan, a son of Dr Parvez and Deirdre Butt.

The fledgling paediatric nurse, who is entering his final year at UCD, is also looking for play dough, blow-out bubbles and other items of that nature.

Looking forward to the trip to Afghanistan, Nathan said that he was a well-seasoned traveller having travelled to and lived in many countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and America. Based in Dublin, Nathan decided to undertake a foreign assignment prior to starting his internship in September 2012.

“A school friend of mine from England told me about Aschiana and it was she who put me in touch with the director,” he said.

He added: “The paperwork for a visa is difficult to get through but I’m applying for a visa from July 2 to August 27.”

Given the current climate in Afghanistan, Nathan admitted that he has been advised of safety concerns among his friends.

“We don’t have any protection there as we’re not living in a complex. We’re living in the community out on the street. A lot of people have tried to talk me out of it. There is a lot of risk but there’s risk with anything.

“There’s also the issue of heat. I just want to focus on the work and not worry about anything else,” he said.

When he returns to Ireland, Nathan will begin his internship with Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin and then the Mater Hospital.

To contact Nathan with regard to the Croagh Patrick climb, or to make donations, please email: nate_butt@yahoo.ie.