Friends’ mercy mission to Asia

Rebecca Coppillie and Olivia Gelson, right, are planning a trip to Cambodia with Reach Out Volunteers to help poverty stricken villagers.
Rebecca Coppillie and Olivia Gelson, right, are planning a trip to Cambodia with Reach Out Volunteers to help poverty stricken villagers.
0
Have your say

TWO teenagers are planning to travel thousands of miles to help poverty-stricken villagers and mistreated animals in Asia.

Olivia Gelson, from Houghton, and Rebecca Coppillie, from Durham, are hoping to take part in the Reach Out Volunteers scheme in Cambodia this summer.

The 18-year-olds, who are studying geography at Northumbria University, will spend two weeks working in a farming community and at an animal sanctuary.

“Reach Out Volunteers work with the Kro Bei Riel community that consists of over 7,000 people living in 12 different villages,” said Olivia, a former pupil at Hetton Comprehensive School.

“Mainly an agricultural community, it is based on rice and vegetable farming and small-scale animal husbandry.

“We will be flying into Siem Reap, which is only a short distance from the villages where we will be working and where villagers live on less than $2 per day and only 36 per cent of the population has access to drinking water.”

The pair will spend their first week working at a small village school at Nunsavath, building a large adventure play structure made from bamboo, which will withstand the harsh weather conditions, and teaching English.

The second week, in Laos, will see them based at an animal sanctuary taking care of mistreated, injured and sick elephants.

The students are facing a race against time to raise £4,000 funds between them to cover the cost of the trip, which will take place between July 14 and 28.

Anyone who can help the pair should email olivia.gelson@hotmail.co.uk or bexcoppillie@hotmail.co.uk.