Local girl going back to India

Longford's Nicola Lyons pictured in India where she will return to this year to work with vulnerable children.
Local girl Nicola Lyon is heading back to India to help young, vulnerable children for a second time on April 28 and won’t return until September 22.

Local girl Nicola Lyon is heading back to India to help young, vulnerable children for a second time on April 28 and won’t return until September 22.

A daughter of Brian and Maria Lyons, Ardnacassa Lawns, Nicola has left her job as an Administrator at Zurich Life in Blackrock to participate in this programme. She has already taken part in the Suas Volunteer Programme for three months in 2012 and worked as a volunteer teaching assistant in Kolkata with one of Suas’s Indian partner organisations, Sabuj Sangha.

Nicola will be returning to India to work as a team co-ordinator. She will be again be working with Sabuj Sangha, but this time she will be managing a team of eight volunteers.

“We’ll be based in a small village in the Sundarbans of West Bengal called Nandakumapar,” she explained. “The majority of the children we’ll be living and working with are aged six to12 and will have been rescued from, or at risk of, child labour. Sabuj Sangha provide them with basic accommodation, three meals a day, healthcare, and non-formal education, with a view to mainstreaming them into formal government schools.”

As a team co-ordinator Nicola will support and mentor the volunteers, and ensure the health, safety and security of all participants.

“I’m really excited, although it’s more of a challenge being responsible for eight volunteers,” she remarked.

She will support the volunteers with exploring development issues and the challenges of teaching in an under-resourced Indian classroom. She will also work with Sabuj Sangha to ensure the successful running of the volunteer programme.

To participate Nicola needs to fundraise €1,650 towards the cost of the programme, the rest is subsided by Irish Aid / Department Foreign Affairs.

To help raise this money, there will be a fundraiser in The Longford Arms on Saturday, April 19 with music on the night by Pascal Flaherty. There will be raffle prizes and an auction of other prizes.

“I’d also love to get sponsorship from anyone who can’t make it on the night and from local businesses too,” stated Nicola. “ I am so grateful to all my sponsors and to all who donated both raffle and auction prizes and if anyone would like to donate to the fund, I’ve outlined how to do this on my charity page.”

Speaking to the leader this week, Nicola’s mum Maria said, “Both myself and Brian wish Nicola the best of luck, we are so proud of her. We are hoping the fundraiser and auction go really well. It’s for such a great cause. We would really like to to thank Orla Reynolds from the Longford Arms Hotel for helping us to organise the event.

You can sponsor Nicola on her charity page at www.mycharity.ie/event/nicola_lyons_event/ and for more information on Suas go to www.suas.ie.