Bo'ness teenager set to volunteer for a year in Cambodia
A Bo’ness teenager is set to spend 12 months as a volunteer, living and working in schools in rural Cambodia.
Bo’ness Academy S6 pupil Eilidh Banks (17) has been balancing school, a part-time job and all the challenges that Covid has brought to exams and university applications, with an ambitious application to become a gap year volunteer for the charitable organisation, Project Trust.
Her proud mum, Marlene Banks, said: "Eilidh has to fundraise the total cost of travel and costs for the year. This comes to around £7000 and, with no social contact and the world in such chaos, it is a real challenge.
"So far she has sold art, held virtual raffles, sponsored events and prize quizzes, and recently worked with The Corbie Inn to make and deliver pizzas which the Corbie then donated all proceeds from; fantastic support.
"She is currently training for the Kiltwalk at the end of April and has plenty of other fundraising ideas in the pipeline. She has made us so proud as parents.
“Covid has already had such a negative impact on Eilidh, her peers and our community. With a lack of opportunity to raise awareness, hold live events or even gain any support from school or local business at the moment."
Project Trust aims to give Cambodian children enough English to allow them to access a broader job market and further education opportunities. Eilidh was selected for her strength in ecological and environmental sciences and she intends to get involved in the broader community through art and outdoor learning.
Marlene added: “She is keen to set up a basketball team. She has been sponsored by several local businesses who have helped her print leaflets and sponsored her to raise funds and supplied some of her kit.
“The hope is that she will leave in September. She has raised £2101 so far and her total aim is £6950.
"When restrictions lift, she hopes to hold live events, but for now her fundraising has been limited to online and remote distanced events only.
"Her school is helping her and have been very supportive.”
Eilidh has received three university offers for environmental science, geography and outdoor education, and plans to take up one of these on her return after her year abroad.