Heather’s helping hand for the Philippines

Heather Binnie
Heather Binnie

A former Kirkcaldy woman is heading to the Philippines next month to work on community projects with the Global Volunteer Network.

Heather Binnie (26) is set to volunteer with a local organisation for four weeks on teaching programmes.

The project involves volunteers teaching English to help improve the quality of education in the region.

The former Kirkcaldy High pupil, who currently works in a missionary training centre in Chorley through the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, told The Press she thought about going to help out in the Philippines following a discussion with a friend.

She said: “It was never in my plans to do something like this, but my friend and I were talking and she asked me if I could be anywhere in the world right now where would I go and I said the Philippines to help out after the devastation caused by the typhoon.

“I looked online and the Global Volunteer Network came up, so I contacted them and had to fill out an application form and answer a few questions. It was accepted and they said I could volunteer.”

Heather had to raise the money for the flights as well as insurance but she was given donations from the Church of the Latter-day Saints as well as friends.

She will head to the Philippines on February 8 and return on March 10.

Heather, who will stay with a host family, is looking forward to teaching English to children as figures have indicated that almost 20 per cent of Filipinos are illiterate and the number of children out of school is on the rise.

Heather is still looking for donations as she hopes to buy some textbooks as well as pens and paper to take out with her.

She said: “In schools there is one textbook for 30 students. I have raised enough money to get to the Philippines but I would like to try to raise more to be able to buy textbooks as well as pens and paper for the students.

“I am really looking forward to teaching English when I get out there. I still find it hard to believe I am actually going.

“It will be good to get a new perspective after experiencing a very different way of life.”

Heather’s presence will be a welcome addition for the community and the teachers.

Colin Salisbury, Global Volunteer Network founder and president, said the trip abroad will be far from a relaxing vacation.

He said: “Heather will be working five days a week and will be provided with simple living arrangements. Her dedication, and the impact she will have, is noteworthy.”

Anyone wanting to help Heather raise money for textbooks can make a donation online by visiting http://www.gvnfundraising.org/fundraise?fcid=292043.