Two Kings County girls, inspired by the Me to We youth movement, will be making their way to Africa this summer to help make a difference in the lives of others.
Meghan Nicholson, a Grade 10 student at Northeast Kings Education Centre, and Rachel Mader, a Grade 10 student at Horton, are going on the upcoming Me to We mission to the Masai Mara region of Kenya, located south of the capital city, Nairobi.
Nicholson, 15, attended the ‘Me to We Day’ at the Halifax Metro Centre in November 2013. Nicholson was inspired to contact the organization about taking part in a youth volunteer trip.
“I have been brought up to think about people less fortunate than me and I now have an opportunity to learn first hand how I can support our greater global village,” Nicholson said.
Me to We works in conjunction with Free the Children. Nicholson hopes to gain first-hand knowledge of work that makes a difference to people struggling with poverty. Volunteers will get to experience what life is like for the people they are visiting.
One of the biggest aspects of the mission will be helping to build a school using bricks and mortar.
Nicholson, however, is perhaps most excited about visiting one of the first health clinics built by Free the Children. In the future, she hopes to complete a Bachelor of Nursing degree with an international component and hopes the experience will support her future endeavours.
Seeing different cultures
Mader, 16, said she got involved after hearing about it from Nicholson. She said she loves to travel and has always wanted to visit Africa.
“I want to be exposed to different cultures,” Mader said, pointing out that Me to We is a well-known, safe organization to travel with.
“A lot of young people my age are doing it.”
She said she has been overseas on vacation with her family before, including a trip last year to China, but has never gone on a mission to help people “make a change in their lives.”
Mader said they would pick up where the last mission left off, providing help where it’s needed most. Participants will also spend a night in the home of a Kenyan family, “getting a taste of what their everyday life is like compared to ours,” she said.
“I’m ecstatic to go,” Mader said. “I’m a little nervous about leaving home but I want to bring back some leadership skills and learn more about their culture.”
She hopes it will be a valuable learning experience and hopes to gain a greater appreciation of how good life is for people living in Canada. Mader said she understands there is a strong community in Masai Mara region and wants to be a part of it.
The mission runs from July 13 to Aug. 1. Volunteers must commit to raising more than $5,500 each. Fundraisers held to date include a yard sale and selling tickets on a gift basket. The girls have been collecting donations at the County Fair Mall and selling Rafiki bracelets made by the Masai Mamas, a group of mothers in Kenya. Half the money goes back to the women who make the jewelry. As part of the mission to Kenya, the girls will get to make jewelry with the Mamas.
Nicholson asked for online donations in lieu of Christmas gifts to help raise money and has been saving her wages from working at Tim Hortons in Coldbrook. Several local businesses are also sponsoring her trip.
Nicholson plans to make a public presentation after she gets home to help raise awareness of the work Free the Children does and hopefully convince more people to get involved.
If you would like to make a donation to Free the Children through Mader, email firstname.lastname@example.org.