Hitchin mum set to help build a classroom in Cambodia

PUBLISHED: 09:38 16 October 2017 | UPDATED: 09:51 16 October 2017

Hitchin's Laura West with her children Dexter, nine, and Ava, five, in Thailand during a previous trip to south-east Asia. Picture: Courtesy of Laura West

Hitchin's Laura West with her children Dexter, nine, and Ava, five, in Thailand during a previous trip to south-east Asia. Picture: Courtesy of Laura West

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A mum-of-two from Hitchin is set to jet out to Cambodia to help build a village classroom for impoverished youngsters.

Laura West's cousin Graeme Howell, left, with other volunteers from his Worldwide Action charity in Nepal. Picture: Worldwide ActionLaura West's cousin Graeme Howell, left, with other volunteers from his Worldwide Action charity in Nepal. Picture: Worldwide Action

Laura West, 36, is heading out to south-east Asia to work with Worldwide Action – a charity set up by her cousin Graeme Howell – in response to devastation in Nepal following an earthquake.

She and a team of volunteers from the donation-funded charity will build a classroom that will be used by more than 170 children in an exceptionally poor area with low literacy rates.

Laura told the Comet: “The tuition that these children and young people receive is invaluable and will assist them in later life.

“Young people from the village have already gone on to receive university places and lucrative jobs which help to support their extended families and community as a direct result of this additional education.

Children in Nepal who have been helped by the charity. Picture: Worldwide ActionChildren in Nepal who have been helped by the charity. Picture: Worldwide Action

“The building of this classroom will make it possible to accommodate even more pupils and improve their overall learning environment.

“The classroom will be constructed using the Earthbag building method. This type of construction is low-cost, sustainable, robust and environmentally friendly.

“Worldwide Action has used this technique in Nepal, Uganda and Malawi on numerous successful projects, and is keen to promote it in other developing countries.

“The build itself will be undertaken by volunteers and the local community. This is a collaboration of people working together to help children build a better future.”

Children in Nepal who have been helped by the charity. Picture: Worldwide ActionChildren in Nepal who have been helped by the charity. Picture: Worldwide Action

Worldwide Action has no employees and former soldier and firefighter Graeme receives no wage – meaning all donations go towards paying for materials, supplies and logistics.

For this project, the team needs to raise money for materials like earth bags, mud cement, paint, roofing and – they hope – a power system such as solar panels.

Laura’s children Dexter, nine, and Ava, five, are also getting in on the act by selling bendy pencils to their Highover JMI School classmates at £1 each.

Proud Laura said: “The profits from these sales will purchase wooden pencils and erasers for the classroom in Cambodia.”

Children in Nepal who have been helped by the charity. Picture: Worldwide ActionChildren in Nepal who have been helped by the charity. Picture: Worldwide Action

If you’d like to support Laura, have a look at mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/laurawest1. You can also find out more about the charity at worldwideaction.org.

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