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Minster resident and former Highsted student, Abi Nelson, ready for her African volunteering adventure thanks to International Citizen Service project

By Gemma Constable

A young churchgoer will be spending 10 weeks volunteering as part of an international development project to help communities in South Africa.

Former Highsted Grammar School student Abi Nelson, of Buckthorne Road, Minster, left for her trip of a lifetime yesterday.

The 22-year-old discovered the opportunity after learning about the charity Tear Fund, a Christian organisation which aims to combat poverty.

Abi Nelson preparing for her trip to South Africa
Abi Nelson preparing for her trip to South Africa

It works with the International Citizen Service (ICS), which is a government funded project to get more young people to volunteer abroad.

They are aiming to get 7,000 18 to 25-year-olds placements within a three-year period.

Due to the funding it receives from the Department for International Development, it means those taking part in the schemes don’t have to raise as much as some other projects as the government stumps up the rest of the cash.

Abi, who has just finished her fourth year of a five-year masters degree in civil engineering at the University of Surrey, hopes to work abroad helping out with things like water and sanitation.

Her time in Durban will be spent with a charity based there called Zoe Life, which works with vulnerable families giving education about HIV and Aids.

ICS asked Abi to raise £800, which she managed to do with the help of Community Church Sheppey, where she is a member of the congregation.

She organised a cake sale and it collected £700, which she said she is very grateful and thankful to the other members for.

The former Cheyne Middle School pupil has also spent time in Uganda with the church’s ongoing project there.

She said: “It’s going to be a really good thing to do and a great opportunity to test the water and see if working abroad is something I could do in future.

“I will be working with volunteers from the country as well so we will learn from each other – I’ll get fully immersed in the culture.”

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