THERE are many ways to celebrate your graduation from university - and Claudy woman Colleen Gormley has chosen something truly remarkable.
For the 23-year-old who recently graduated with a degree in music education from Trinity College, Dublin, is next month going to travel to the Republic of Moldova to spend two weeks working with the orphaned and terminally ill children on behalf of Irish charity Outreach Moldova.
“I saw a poster for the charity on the notice board at Trinity and it looked like something I would like to get involved in - so I found out more and it appealed to me.
“I’ve never done anything like this before so going for two weeks is not too daunting although of course I’ve no experience of what it will be like.” Outreach Moldova was established in 2000 in response to the growing humanitarian crisis in the former USSR state. Colleen said the charity were greeted with horrific scenes when they first visited the country’s orphanages.
“The conditions the children were living in were beyond belief - so many were just left with little food in horrendous living quarters. The charity has gone great work, however, and is helping more than 1000 abandoned, terminally ill or vulnerable children.
“They have transformed the orphanages, built a school and helped bring some dignity to the life of the children they are caring for.” Colleen said she has been so busy finishing her degree that she hasn’t had time to really think about what she may see when she reaches Moldova - but the musician will be bringing her guitar and hopes to help bring a little music to the lives of the young people as well as carrying out other volunteering duties.
To fund her trip to Moldova, Colleen has had to arrange some fundraising. As a talented singer and songwriter she has recorded a CD which is now on sale throughout a range of local shops.
“It’s called ‘Hope’ and contains five tracks and a bonus track,” Colleen explained. Quite a mixed bag, it contains one of Colleen’s own songs ‘Hope’ as well as covers of You Raise Me Up, Shut Up and Drive, How Can I Heal Your Broken Heart and a medley of The Fields of Athenry, Chasing Cars and Use Somebody. For the first time Colleen has also recorded a classical piece ‘Pie Jesu’. The CDs are available from the Day to Day, Claudy, Centra, Claudy, Centra, Maghera, O’Kane’s, Dungiven, the Trench Road Post Office, Derry and New Look Beauty Salon, Eglinton. Colleen can also be sponsored via www.mycharity.ie/event/colleen_gormley/