A TEENAGER from Clifford who spent 11 weeks working on a project fighting poverty overseas is calling on other young people to take the plunge.

Gabrielle Yapp, 19, travelled to Uganda in April as part of the UK government funded International Citizen Service programme with international development organisation VSO, where she worked alongside young volunteers from Uganda and the UK.

She lived with a local host family so that she was fully immersed into the community and could gain a better understanding of the challenges people there face.

The young volunteers work on long-term projects that seek to end poverty in the world's poorest countries.

Gabrielle said: "I spent 3 months in Kitgum, a small town in the north of Uganda, where our focus was on improving livelihoods through teaching skills such as bookkeeping and online marketing.

"We had weekly sessions and other events with farming communities and held community dialogues on issues such as child marriage, alcoholism and domestic abuse.

"We taught practical skills, aiming to give people another source of income through showing them how to make soap and beads to sell, and how to make reusable sanitary pads. Girl’s education is often not the priority in families, and the lack of access to sanitary products adds another hurdle to overcome. We took this skill into a Sudanese refugee camp, where access to sanitary products is especially difficult.

"It was an indescribable experience that made me realise that my passion lies in humanitarian work."

Now back in the UK, Gabrielle is off to university in Durham, where she will be studying psychology.

Before she left for Uganda, Gabrielle raised £1000 for VSO, which will ensure that communities in developing countries can continue to benefit from the work of volunteers. Her efforts were matched by the Black Mountain Lions Club in Hereford, who raised £400 for the project.

To find out more about ICS or to apply, visit www.volunteerics.org.