A young journalist from Letterkenny is embarking on a volunteer trip to India to help make a difference to the lives of street and slum children.
Catherine Devine is taking a career break from her role at the Irish Independent this summer to visit Asia, where she will spend three months in Calcutta with the Hope Foundation.
Her work with the Irish charity will involve public relations and teaching English and Arts to some of the most underprivileged children in India.
But she also aspires to learn from the resilient young people that she encounters.
In order to volunteer, Catherine must raise €3,000 to go directly to the Hope Foundation. She has organised a fun Mamma Mia charity night in Century Cinemas on April 8th at 8:30pm, with a raffle and best-dressed prizes to generate support for the foundation.
Catherine is hoping that her work in India can help make a lasting impact on young lives.
She said: “I hope to experience the vibrant culture of India, but mostly I hope to see the great work that the Irish volunteers are doing and contribute myself to some of the 90 projects that are being run by the Hope Foundation in areas such as housing, healthcare, counselling and education.
“Previous volunteers at Hope have said that they were taken back by how positive and happy the street children were, despite them being some of the poorest and most vulnerable children in the world. I hope by working with the children, their positive outlook on life will rub off on me too.”
Catherine is no stranger to international trips through her work. In November 2017 she travelled to Ethiopia under the Simon Cumbers Media Fund supported by the Department of Foreign Affairs. The project was focused on education and the empowerment of women in Ethiopia – and in particular how Irish people are helping these causes every day.
She also toured America in 2018 under the Veronica Guerin scholarship, where she researched and reported on hate crimes in the US for eight months.
“This project also opened my eyes to the struggles that the most vulnerable in American society are facing. It was really interesting to see how different Americans’ views were depending on the state we were in,” she said.
These eye-opening experiences have inspired Catherine to do more, learn more and discover more of the world, starting with India and then further afield.
“Both experiences were incredible and definitely made me want to travel and learn more about different cultures,” she said.
“I’m really looking forward to travelling to India and experiencing all that the country has to offer.
“After my three months of volunteering, I’m then going to Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam so there is a lot to look forward to.
“When I return, I’m hoping to do my masters in Global Developmental Policies and International Relations so hopefully I will get to do a lot more travelling in years to come.”
To help Catherine reach the €3,000 target for the Hope Foundation, all are welcome to come and enjoy the fun of Mamma Mia at Century Cinemas on Monday 8th April. Tickets are €10 and available from Seamus Devine at 0872482775
If you would like to support Catherine’s fundraiser online, visit the everydayhero page on: https://give.everydayhero.com/ie/the-hope-foundation-catherine-devine