Lydia’s mission to help poor in Africa

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A CARING student has travelled half-way round the world in a bid to help poverty-stricken youngsters in Africa.

Lydia Whittaker, 17, of Forton, has joined 12 other students from her local bible group for the two-week trip to Kenya where they will support struggling communities.

The group is spending time in the country’s capital, Nairobi, taking part in volunteer projects, working with church groups and supporting young people living in the city’s largest slum Kibera.

Lydia said: “Kibera, where we are going, is one of the biggest slums in the world.

“I am quite open to the experience, I’ve been looking at the area and reading up on it so it won’t be a complete shock. But it is very difficult – you can’t really prepare for what we’re going to see.

“However, I’m ready to experience something different and come away having helped children and changed lives.”

The Ripley St Thomas A-level student is no stranger to volunteering, having given up her time to work with children at Garstang Free Methodist Church, and as one of four sisters knows a thing or two about teamwork.

“I am quite involved at school, and have often helped out with the children’s church classes and youth groups I am quite practical and don’t mind getting stuck in,” she added,

“The main thing is going to be the culture difference, but I’m really excited – this is first time I’ve been abroad without my family and I’m looking forward to the whole experience.”

Lydia also spent time fundraising for the projects she will be working on, carrying out a 12-hour sponsored silence.

“It was very difficult, but I was determined to raise as much as I could,” she said.