A young Deeside woman is setting off on the adventure of a lifetime by spending a year as a charity volunteer in South Africa.
Tara Dow, 18, from Torphins, will be volunteering with the Project Trust charity to teach school children Maths and English in Zithuele, which is located in one of the poorest parts of South Africa’s rural Eastern Cape.
The former Aboyne Academy pupil flew out last weekend and admits she is finding the prospect of a year in the Rainbow Nation both exciting and daunting.
Project Trust has its headquarters on the Scottish island of Coll and has been sending school leaver volunteers to projects around the world for the last 50 years.
Tara underwent a week-long selection process on the island and will join five other volunteers. She will work alongside a fellow volunteer to teach Maths and English to 11 to 16-year-olds from secondary schools in the area.
Zithuele is part of a large Xhosa community, who are renowned for their family-oriented way of life and traditional culture. Tara will be teaching as part of the local Axium Education project, which has been set up to help improve the quality of rural schooling in the area.
Tara had to raise £6,200 towards the cost of her trip and did that by holding a cake sale, a ceilidh and from donations by several charitable trusts.
She admitted: “I was overwhelmed by the generosity of my family, friends, people who didn’t know me and the charitable trusts. The fund raising was hard work but also good fun.
“It will be fascinating to experience a completely different culture and hopefully at the same time I can help make a difference to other peoples’ lives.”
She added: “I am also looking forward to exploring other parts of the country when we get some time off.”
Tara has already been accepted for a place at Glasgow University to study accounting, when she returns from South Africa next year.
She has set up a blog which can be followed at: https://southafricawoo.home.blog