A group of students and lecturers from the Department of Nursing and Health Studies, including seven volunteers from Co Donegal, are currently volunteering in Missionvale Community Project.
This is in a very poor township in Port Elizabeth, South Africa which is home to 130,000 people.
The project was founded by Sister Ethel Normoyle, a native of County Clare, in 1988 who has worked tirelessly to establish a nutrition unit as well a health clinic, a community garden, a primary school and a crèche.
Since arriving the students have been shocked by the contrast in lifestyles and the inequalities that exist side by side.
So far the students have worked in the nutrition unit and on Monday food supplies were given to 950 people to feed their family for a week.
This unit is vital for sustaining a good level of health as many people have conditions such as TB, HIV and Aids. Breakfast is also provided for the children of the area to help with concentration at school because many do not get a breakfast at home.
The Missionvale Care Centre was yesterday visited by four members of the South African Springbok rugby team who were greeted with great excitement.
Siya Kolisi one of the players who grew up in a township around the corner from Missionvale addressed the children.
“If you can dream it you can do it, but you should always work hard to achieve your dreams.”
This was important for the children to hear that anything is possible no matter where you come from.
The team consists of lecturers Mary Dunnion and Kevin O`Brien; students Aoife Kilcullen, Natasha Bell, Geraldine Langan, Fiona Sweeney, Melissa McGrath, Aoife Ní Raighailligh, Maria Woods, Aoibhinn McMahon and Carol Mc Elhinney.
The group had to fundraise for this volunteering project and would like thank the communities in Donegal, Leitrim and Monaghan for their generosity.
The seven volunteers from Donegal include Aoife Kilcullen, Geraldine Langan, Natasha Bell, Carol Mc Elhinney, Fiona Sweeney and Mary Dunnion.