Teenage volunteer just wild for Africa

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A LEVEN teenager is tirelessly raising funds to take part in a wildlife conservation programme in South Africa.

Simone O’Kane (18), of Riverside Way, needs to reach £3500 in order to travel and work as a volunteer at the Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre – 500km away from the capital Johannesburg.

Once there Simone, who currently studies psychology at Edinburgh Napier University, will be carrying out some once-in-a-lifetime work, helping fellow volunteers take care of abandoned, injured and poisoned wildlife as well as helping the monitoring and breeding of endangered species.

So far she has raised £1000, but knows she still has a long way to go until she reaches her target to allow her to travel out in July.

“It has always been my dream to work alongside animals, and this programme is the opportunity of a lifetime to allow myself to volunteer and help animals in need in South Africa,” Simone said.

“I understand that times are tough at the moment, and it will be very difficult to raise the remaining balance but next I have organised a fundraising disco at ‘The Venue’ in Methil, which will be held on March 31, from 7.30pm.

“On the night there will be a raffle, lots of fundraising games, a DJ and a rodeo bull.

“This will be a brilliant night for all the family, and, hopefully, will help me achieve my goal of raising the full £3500.”

Readers of the Mail may remember Simone was featured in 2010, after raising £3000 to take part in a community development programme in the Indian Himalayas, and hopes her continued work may inspire some other young people.

She continued: “After successfully raising the funds and taking part in the programme, I realised the benefits of volunteering abroad.

“I have taught pupils from Denbeath Primary classes P5, 6 and 7 about the benefits of volunteering and shared my experiences of India as well as what I aim to achieve in South Africa.

“I feel that nowadays my generation needs to witness that dreams can come true with hard work and the help of friends, family and community,” she added.

•Disco tickets, priced £5 (children free), can be bought on the night and Simone can be contacted on 07534 924871 for donations or fundraising advice.