Isle of Man student aims to help in Ghana

Alex Hardman

Alex Hardman

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A former Queen Elizabeth II High School pupil from Glen Vine is hoping to go to Africa to do voluntary work this summer.

Alexandra Hardman, whose parents Andrew and Sally Hardman live in Ballagarey Close, has volunteered to travel to Ghana for six weeks where she will do some teaching in orphanages and also turn her hand to building.

Alexandra, who is 20 and studying for a childhood and early years degree at Northumbria University in Newcastle, said: ‘I have wanted to be a volunteer for ages but never had the right time to go. Going to university has been expensive but I saved hard over the summer. This year is my graduation year so I thought it was sensible to kickstart the travel plans now.

‘A number of my lecturers have done similar things and that inspired me to give it a go.’

She plans to go in June and though she is travelling alone there will be people from all over the world volunteering at the same time, with new starters joining the projects every couple of weeks.

Once she is there the work is likely to be varied with part of the time spent working in an orphanage in the Ghanaian capital of Accra. There the work can be anything from playing with the children to getting involved in teaching sessions and helping to put together activity programmes.

There is also building work to be done - anything from huts and toilets to classrooms.

Alexandra said although she had been involved in many volunteering schemes over the years she had really wanted a bigger project to work on.

‘After a long process of internet surfing, I finally came across an organisation based in New Zealand called International Volunteer HQ which deals with placements all over the world,’ she said.

‘I will be addressing the problems that many children without education, healthcare, adequate food, love and attention face as a result of their parents not being there for them. We will also be designing and executing teaching programmes for them.

‘Secondly, we will be doing construction and renovation work along side local people, helping to improve infrastructure in small rural communities. We will be focusing on orphanages, schools, community centres, clinics toilets.

‘This will be an interesting challenge and with any luck I may have developed some actual muscles by the time I return.’

She added many people in the country live on around 60 pence per day and food, hygiene and general health are often compromised as a result.

At the moment, she is raising money to cover costs of flights, vaccinations, insurance and a visa. She also hopes to take some extra funds to spend locallon on pens, paper and other equipment for the children in the orphanage.

An afternoon tea held over Christmas for around 30 people at her parents’ house along with a raffle and silent auction raised more than £400. She has thanked businesses who donated raffle prizes including Mostly Manx which provided a £70 hamper.

Alexandra has a fundraising page at where she gives details of her venture and also keeps people updated on preparations.

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