A 16 year old teenager left his home in Donegal Town on Friday morning with his rucksack on his back prepared for a two and a half week epic visit to the Repulic of Zambia. The landlocked country in Southern Africa neighbours the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the north, Tanzania to the north-east, Malawi to the east, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana and Namibia to the south, and Angola to the west.
Declan McLaughlin is undertaking the trip in a bid to expand his knowledge in relation to other cultures and to gain a valuable insight into how those in Zambia live. “One of the main reasons that I Became involved with the Alan Kerin’s project is that I graduated from the N.U.I.G with a certificate in youth leadership and community action last summer. I also want to learn about different cultures and gain an insight into how other people live and give something to them,” the Abbey Vocational student said.
Nationally acclaimed hurler Alan Kerins got in contact with Foróige and discussed the possibility of their sending students to the poverty stricken country and the Donegal Town team of organisers decided that it would be a very worthwhile project to undertake and got proceedings underway.
“I am involved in Foróige and Alan Kerins got in contact with them and Foróige agreed to go along and do this. He is an internationally recognised hurler from Connaught who went to Zambia and raised millions of euro for the people out there,” Declan said.
The Donegal Town Foróige team had to raise €5000 and €2000 euro each before they could undertake the journey. “I have to say that everyone was so good and generous. I bucket collected on the Diamond in Donegal Town a few times, we organised quizzes and bag packed in shops around the area. We all helped eachother out,” he said.
There are six other young students undertaking the journey alongside Declan, Tara Gildea, Shauna Gildea, Aran Quinn, Andrew Clinton, Orla Howell and Aisling Kavanaugh.
“There will be number of workshops taking place during the duration of the visit. I will give a workshop for one hour and a half on our culture and then they will give us a talk on their culture,” he said.
Everyone will be required to give a talk in their respective workshops. The team will stay in a number of different types of accommodation in Zambia. Declan is very much prepared for the difference in culture and excited to be taking part in the project.