Scarborough teenager gives up Christmas to tackle poverty in Nepal
On Christmas Day a young volunteer from Scarborough will be swapping the traditional roast turkey and potatoes for dal bhat and roti in Nepal.
Rather than celebrating with family and friends, this year Chloe Gibson, 18, will spend the festive season working on a project supporting Nepali youth to improve their livelihoods and earn a decent living.
Chloe travelled to Nepal in November with youth development organisation Restless Development as part of the UK government funded International Citizen Service programme.
Chloe said: “I’ve always wanted to volunteer abroad and it’s been a goal of mine.
“I wanted to do something that pushed me outside of my comfort zone while helping others at the same time.
“I want to work with young people in the future so I thought this would be a good opportunity to get some experience and start thinking about a career path.
“I want to learn about new cultures and experience them for myself, rather than just reading about different places on a screen.”
Chloe is living with a host family whie in Nepal, to fully immerse herself into the culture and to better understand the challenges faced by the local community.
She is also working alongside a young Nepali counterpart.
Chloe said: “This is my first time away from home and missing Christmas for the first time is daunting as I’m very close with my family.
“I expect I’ll feel a little homesick on Christmas Day, but I know my family are supporting me which makes everything better.
“I’m excited to share my Christmas traditions with my Nepali host family and counterpart.
“I’ve shown them my photos from home and played some Christmas songs, which was a good bonding moment.
“I’ll be spending Christmas Day with the other volunteers as we’re meeting to do some training. I’m excited to see everyone again and spend Christmas with them, hopefully playing songs and eating chocolate!
“I don’t know how I’ll be spending New Year’s Eve yet, but I’m really excited to see what my community and host family do. It’ll be an amazing way to go into 2019 for sure.”
As one of the world’s poorest countries, a quarter of Nepali people live on less than $1.25 a day, and millions are still recovering from a series of devastating earthquakes in 2015.
Before leaving for Nepal, Chloe fundraised £800 which will ensure that communities in developing countries continue to benefit from the work of volunteers.
On her return to the UK, Chloe will complete an ‘Action At Home’ project, ensuring that her new skills will also benefit the community in Scarborough.
Felicity Morgan, director of ICS, said: “At this traditional time for generosity and giving, Chloe has chosen to spend Christmas and New Year away from home making a difference on the other side of the world. We’d like to thank Chloe and her team for their hard work and wish them all a merry Christmas in Nepal.”
ICS placements are available for departure from April 2019, and 18 to 25-year-olds from Scarborough and surrounding areas are encouraged to apply - click here to find out more.