Play worker jetting off to help charity project

Chloe Squires who works with autistic children at Sunbeams Play is off on her volunteer travels.Pict

Chloe Squires who works with autistic children at Sunbeams Play is off on her volunteer travels.Picture: James Bass - Credit: Eastern Daily Press © 2016

Intrepid play worker Chloe Squires is packing her bags and jetting off in search of charity projects with children at their heart.

The 18-year-old who works at Sunbeams Play in Great Yarmouth has just returned from a three month stint in Ghana working in remote villages on a project to boost communities.

The Government-funded trip with the International Citizen Service (ICS) involved living in a remote village with a Ghanaian “buddy” and helping farmers with basic skills like maths and marketing.

Seeing first hand the plight of children, particularly those with disabilities that were misunderstood and shunned by those around them, has strengthened her resolve to volunteer overseas and pursue a career helping others.

And on Monday she is heading off to Thailand with the aim of seeking out a project she can help with. As well as teaching English as a foreign language she is keen to take on charity work.

As before she will keep youngsters at Sunbeams updated on her travels posting photographs and updates on Facebook.

Miss Squires who grew up in Gorleston and now lives in Bungay with her mother said: “I had always had in my mind that I wanted to work with children but when I got to college I felt overwhelmed by all the different routes you could take, and when I travelled I again felt overwhelmed by the scope of it all too.”

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In Ghana one of the main challenges was finding enough safe drinking water and at times they had to boil water drawn from the river.

Because of the regular, timed power cuts which lasted for 12 hours at a time storing fresh food was difficult meaning all that was on offer was a limited diet of rice, lentils and tinned food.

She said the experience had opened her eyes to the challenges people faced to meet even their basic needs.

Most of the people she encountered could not write their own names and had little ability with numbers, a major barrier to farmer’s trying to grow and sustain their businesses.

Working at the grassroots was hopefully an effective way of making permanent changes, she said, leaving people with a way of calculating their profit and ways to boost it.

“Being surrounded by a totally different new culture was amazing,” she said. “It was great to see the world from a different perspective. It was very rewarding. I just loved it.”

When she returns from Thailand she will pick up her studies again, starting a degree in international development at Nottingham Trent University.