A young Letterkenny woman is seeking support as she travels travels overseas to carry out a vital part of her coursework.

Student Occupational Therapist Rachel Mullen is in her final year student of her academic studies in Ulster University.

As part of her course she must organise a special five-week placement and Rachel is to travel to Kenya to carry out her placement.

This placement is to be completed in a setting where there is no occupational therapy service present but can benefit from the knowledge and skills of an OT.

Previous Ulster University students have undertaken their placements in innovative areas and organisations including organisations based in Asia, America and Africa.

Rachel, who is from Bomany, says this is a great opportunity to educate other professions and better establish our future career as well as learning new skills to be transferred to our local settings.

She said “Two other OT students and I are travelling to Kenya with the International Volunteer HQ organisation this New Year to work with children with special needs and their families, providing care, education, therapy and general assistance in a kind and compassionate way. Due to lack of support and education around disability awareness in Kenya, many disabled children and young adults are hidden from public view by their families.

“The Kenyan culture is built largely around family values and beliefs, and it is expected that children should be able to contribute while at home and then ultimately provide for themselves when they reach adulthood.

“However, there are increasing numbers of children born with either mental or physical disabilities, such as Cerebral Palsy and Down Syndrome, who do not have access to support and cannot fend for themselves. On the Special Needs Care project I will assist with providing daily hands-on support and disability education among families and local communities.”

In order to participate in this programme, Rachel must pay fees, which will cover her accommodation, meals, orientation, programme placement, volunteer support services and administration costs of the programme.

Furthermore, she will have extra costs such as airfares to Kenya, in country travel and vaccinations.

Rachel also said that previous volunteers also found their impact was more profound when they took some fundraised money to invest in projects being undertaken by the communities with whom they work with.

To raise the funds Rachel has oragnised an online Christmas raffle on the 19th of December 2021 through a Facebook link.

Tickets will cost €5 an entry and Rachel would be hugely grateful for any donations made to help support her fundraising efforts.

To enter the raffle, you can purchase an online ticket through Revolut (@rachelzrjw) or PayPal (mullenrachel9@gmail.com). All donations will be properly thanked and acknowledged on the evening of the raffle.