Emma Boyd, 21, of Glasgow has just returned from an unforgettable journey
to the war-torn Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), at the start of a
year-long gap-year scheme with international development agency Christian
“I meet Nadine while visiting Vorsi Congo, a partner working on HIV/AIDS.
Nadine is a pastor in Kinshasa living with HIV, and a woman of great
inspiration who uses her position of influence to fight the stigma
The two inspirational weeks in the
Congo kick off a challenging year ahead. Emma, along with 20 other
‘gap-year’ volunteers from around the UK, will use their new experiences
and knowledge to encourage young people in their local areas to get
involved with Christian Aid.
The volunteers, who spent time in and
around the DRC capital city Kinshasa, witnessed the humanitarian work of
several Christian Aid partner organisations at a particularly sensitive
time in the country. Conflict and unrest in Goma – 1000 miles to the east
– have led hundreds of thousands of civilians to flee their homes.
her stay, Emma visited Christian Aid partner Humanite Nouvelle, which
works with street children in the capital, providing them with food and
education and helping reunite them with their families. Emma also visited
projects supporting people living with HIV, community action groups and a
women’s development movement fighting for equal rights.
said: "The Congo is a land of great contrasts, some people making it big
while others barely hang on. Yet my overwhelming impression coming away
from it is one of hope. The Congolese people work so hard, making a
massive impact with the little they have. Their tenacity and courage
inspires me greatly."
Emma, who will be based at the Christian
Aid office in Washington Street, Glasgow, will use her ten months on the
scheme to help run local campaigns and workshops, recruit new campaigners
and organise fundraising events. Their focus will be on engaging young
people on issues such as climate change, trade justice, poverty reduction,
health and sanitation and HIV/AIDS.
Robert Pearce, gap programme
coordinator at Christian Aid said: ‘Christian Aid’s gap year volunteer
scheme attracts young people with a passion to end global poverty. We are
delighted by the enormous contribution and deep commitment of these
enthusiastic young people.’
The scheme is open to anyone aged
between 18 and 25 who wants to take a year out during or after studying,
or who just wants to change their career direction. Details are available
by email or on the
Christian Aid website.