independent

Monday 22 October 2018

Cloonacool girls abroad for charity

Emma Gallagher

Three young women from Cloonacool are all heading off abroad for charity.

Mary Marren, a nurse in the Galway Clinic, is going to Vietnam, Sligo Rose Lisa Maloney is travelling to Belarus while Una Conway is spending two months in Zambia.

All three took part in the Cloonacool 5k race on Sunday. Mary is going to Vietnam to work in a military hospital and she said she is looking forward to it. "I'm going for a week on March 9th. I have been in Vietnam twice before and the reason I picked there was I had a motorbike accident and had a bad leg injury and the people were very good to me. Motorbikes are the only way to travel over there. The locals are lovely.

"There is a good group of us going and there's another Sligo girl too, Laura Taheny. It's all under the charity Operation Walk Ireland, I work in the theatre department in Galway and there's people from different departments all over Ireland going.

"It will be very different. We will be taking over the military hospital for a week and we have 60 patients. We will be doing hips and knees replacements and we will also be teaching the local surgeons on how to do them." Mary said all going to plan she would like to do more charity work. "I've been running different fundraisers, everyone has been great and the money is still coming through. I'm really looking forward to it," Mary added.

Also planning to head abroad for charity work is Sligo Rose and fellow Cloonacool native, Lisa Maloney.

She is going to Belarus as part of the annual Rose of Tralee charity trip.

Lisa said: "I'm going from February 14th to the 18th. It's part of the Rose of Tralee, they have partnered with Adi Roche's Chernobyl Children International every year.

"There is a group of 30 of us going over. I'm really looking forward to it, it's going to be a brilliant experience.

"We will be helping in the orphanages, playing with the kids etc and making it feel more homely."

Lisa is a teacher in Grange Post Primary and said this is her first time doing charity work of this nature. "This is all new, I've never done anything like this before. I'm really looking forward to it."

Lisa said the Roses are a closeknit bunch and are in regular contact.

"We have our own Whatsapp group and we're always in contact and support each other's events too.

"Going to Chernobyl will be a fantastic experience," Lisa added.

Una Conway, a student in DCU, is also looking ahead to spending two months in Zambia.

She said: "I'm going to Zambia in June for two months. I've to raise €2,000 before then.

"There's 80 volunteers going from Suas and we will be teaching English to people there.

"I'm in my final year in DCU, I'm studying Communications.

"I got involved with Suas when I was in college, volunteering in Ballymun reading with the children and also did some work with the society in college.

"I heard about the trip to Zambia and decided to apply for it and got it.

"I never did any charity work abroad, I can't wait. There's one girl in my class going too, everyone else is from different universities.

"We're staying in the Northern province of Zambia. Our accommodation will be like hostels.

"It will be very interesting and a really good eye-opener. I've been doing my own research on the country, it's culture, that sort of thing and we will be meeting ahead of it to get educated on what we will be doing," Una added.

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