22nd February 2018
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Young volunteers inspired by isles students’ African experience

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Two Shetland students who carried out charity work in Africa last year have inspired a number of volunteers to accompany them on a return visit.

Nursing student Merran Nugent, from Burra, and Hannah Burgess, a social work student from Gulberwick, worked with First Aid Africa teaching life-saving skills to people in Tanzania last summer.

They felt that their work had made such a positive impact that when they returned home, they set up the First Aid Africa Shetland Society.

This year a total of 20 volunteers from Shetland, part of the charity’s Shetland chapter led by Merran and Hannah, will be travelling to Tanzania, Kenya, Malawi and Uganda to share their skills with local communities.

The volunteers will be working with schools, community groups and local govern­ment in their host countries to give people living in rural villages a fighting chance in an emergency. They will be working on six week placements, with Hannah and Merran spending three months leading teams of local and international volunteers in Tanzania.

All volunteers will be using sustainable equipment and a training course put together by experts from the UK and East Africa.

This month the society will be joined by a delegation from the charity, which will travel to Shetland for a fortnight to provide volunteers with the training required for their work in Africa.

Shetland College has allowed them to use their facilities and Train Shetland has provided equipment.

The volunteers are fund-raising towards their expeditions by holding events such as bag packs, bake sales and raffles towards their fund-raising target. They would like to thank the Shetland community for their support and generosity over the past year. So far, the team have raised more funds than any other society in the UK.

Chief Executive of the charity Sam Abrahams said: “We have been overwhelmed by the dedication and generosity of the people of Shetland. We are not a big charity and it really does make a difference when com­munities support the young people who are volunteering with us overseas.”

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About Jim Tait

Jim Tait is news editor at The Shetland Times.

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