Chloe swaps Kerry surf for Zambian volunteering

Kathleen O'Sullivan

A young Maharees woman is going to swap helping run her dad's water adventure business on the currently sun-soaked Wild Atlantic to build homes in tropical Zambia this month.

16-year-old Chloe Knox - a daughter of former World Champion windsurfer Jamie Knox - departed sun-kissed Ireland on Thursday to volunteer with a team in Zambia in south-central Africa.

"I've always wanted to do something good in the world," Chloe told The Kerryman just before she set off last week.

"We are in Zambia from June 28 until July 15, for just over two weeks, helping to build a family's house.

"My friends and I really wanted to volunteer this summer. Romania and Zambia were two options - but we could only volunteer in Romania for a week."

It's going to mark a big change from her usual summer job of helping out at her dad's water-activity business in Kerry.

"The journey there is long, but worth it, flying from Dublin to Germany, then flying from Germany to Ethiopia, then to Lusaka, the capital of Zambia."

Chloe and her friends heard about Habitat for Humanity, which organises volunteering trips overseas, while in transition year in Bandon Grammar School in West Cork.

"There is a group of 11 of us going, with four adults coming with us. 

"We heard about it during transition year; our TY coordinator got in touch with Habitat for Humanity, and that's how we found more information and got involved.

"We knew the type of work they do in Zambia is what we wanted to be involved with. We can't wait."

Through a number of fund-raisers she organised in her area, as well as a GoFundMe page online, Chloe managed to raise more than €3,000 for Habitat for Humanity in an impressive feat.

"We'll hopefully make a little difference. It's nice to give back to the world," she said.

As for windsurfing, Zambia is a landlocked country so that will have to wait until she returns home!