A Magheramorne student is preparing to spent part of her summer holidays helping people in poor communities in India.
Rebecca McMillan, who is a second year theology student at Queen’s University, will set out on July 9 to take part in a project to help at orphanages, schools, and hospitals in Salem in south east India, in the province of Tamil Nadu.
She will be part of a group working with the Exodus programme, which is a non-denominational churches charity.
Flying out from Dublin to Abu Dubai and then Bangalore, the final part of her journey will be a gruelling six hour bus trip, but Rebecca says she is really looking forward to the experience and to being able to help in the community in India.
Salem is a large industrial city of almost 830,000 people and the Indian Churches Mission Centre at Salem operates orphanages, schools and a hospital and is open to those of all classes and creeds.
It was founded in 1988 by Dr. S. Jayaraj Krishnan. Raised as an orphan himself, he has devoted his life to the physical, emotional and spiritual well-being of orphans in southern India.
Growing from just 12 orphans in 1988, the Indian Christian Mission Centre has become one of the largest orphanages in India.
Rebecca got involved with the Exodus project when she became aware of it through her course at Union College.
Since then she has been taking part in weekly meetings which are part of a leadership course and during her time in Salem she will deliver the sermon at one of the church services and organising children’s clubs.
“I will also be organising children’s clubs and we will be dealing with children aged from 3 to 18 years,” she said.
“A girl in the team has been out before and she has spoken to me about the experience and told me how it went. She really enjoyed it and the people were lovely,” she said.
“There is a real need in that area, people are very poor but they would go without food so that you could have something. I just want to go and help as much as I can,” Rebecca added.
“If you can make a difference for even one person, then that it is worthwhile,” she said.
The Magheramorne Presbyterian Church member has had the support of family and friends to raise funds towards the project, organising events including a quiz night and a social night and selling quiz sheets.