Longford local Maria Farrelly who is volunteering in Zambia
Maria Farrelly, a native of Shroid, is preparing for a volunteering adventure to remember. Maria, a former student of Meanscoil Mhuire, who is studying psychology in UCD, has been chosen to travel to Zambia in Africa as part of a volunteer programme with Suas Educational Development Ireland.
Suas Educational Development is a registered Irish charity which provides underpriveleged children with access to a quality education in Ireland, India, Kenya, and Zambia. As well as volunteer assistance, Suas also offers financial assistance and ongoing technical expertise to its partner schools throughout Ireland, India, Kenya, and Zambia.
Maria explained: “I will be working as a teaching assistant with children from marginalised communities in Kabwe, Zambia.”
“My work will include supporting curricular activities and giving one to one support to some of the children. I will also be organising extracurricular activities such as sports and summer camps.”
The Longford native is currently in the midst of a fundraising campaign to help pay for her participation in the volunteer programme, with a target of €3,500 to be raised within the next five months. All funds raised will cover flights, accommodation, insurance, specialised training and partner schools within Suas.
Maria told Kevin Forde of the Leader: “This is something I am incredibly passionate about and I am very grateful to have been chosen for this experience, especially knowing the background of the organisation that I will be working with.”
“My aim after graduating this year and taking part in the volunteering programme with Suas, is to pursue a masters degree in childhood psychology, with a focus on disability.
“As part of my placement in Kabwe, I will have the opportunity to work with children with intellectual disabilities, particularly those on the autistic spectrum and this is something which I am very much looking forward to.”
Maria’s volunteer placement takes place over the course of an eight week period, starting June 12 and running up until August 12.
Maria stated: “This is a big commitment, however it is something I am very passionate about and I am committed to reaching my fundraising goals.”
“The main message I would like to get across is that Suas is a highly reputable charity, who are driven solely by the aim of improving literacy outcomes within disadvantaged communities, both within Ireland and abroad.”
“Suas is an NGO and turns zero profit, meaning any money which is raised will be going directly into supporting the ongoing educational development of young people throughout Ireland, India, Kenya and Zambia.”
The Shroid native said she is looking to inspire a love for learning whilst on her travels and says she cannot wait to experience the different culture.
She told the Leader: “I am most looking forward to meeting new people and coming into contact with a way of life much less materialistic than what we are used to.”
“My greatest motivation in applying for this teaching position was the prospect of being able to enhance the prospects and outcomes of the children I will be teaching, in whatever small way I can, and attempting to impart the love of learning which was instilled in me by my own parents from a very young age.”
You can find the link to donate to help Maria reach her target is here.