Sinead is aiming to make a big difference to orphans in Malawi

Sinead Murphy (18) is heading to Malawi.
Sinead Murphy (18) is heading to Malawi.

A Derry teenager is about to set off on a trip of a lifetime to Africa where she’ll help build homes for orphans.

Sinead Murphy (18), a final year A-level student, is scheduled to leave for Malawi in south-eastern Africa at the end of June.

House building project in Malawi.

House building project in Malawi.

While there, she will participate in a house building programme for orphans and vulnerable children. The project is sponsored by the Habitat for Humanity organisation.

She is currently fundraising for the trip and needs to pull together £2,500.

Already, Sinead has organised a sponsored skydive which, with the help of six others, raised £1,100.

She’s now organising a charity night which will take place at the Bowery Bar, Ferguson Street, on Monday, June 5 (8pm).

The event will include live music and raffles with lots of prizes up for grabs.

Sinead says it’s always been her ambition to take part in charity work overseas.

She says: “Habitat for Humanity is a great charity which is working in more than 70 countries helping improve so many lives by building them safe sustainable homes. One in five people live in slums and substandard housing which forces them into a cycle of poverty.

“Habitat believe decent homes are the heartbeat of strong communities and, so, they also fight for land rights for women, to upgrade urban slums and informal settlements, to improve access to water and sanitation and to help communities become more resilient in the face of natural disaster.”

Sinead says she’s always known that she wanted to volunteer overseas with a charity but decided on it being a definite career option in the past few months.

“I am planning on finishing my A-levels and then going to university to do a course in international development which will help me gain a greater understanding of the charity sector,” she says.

“I hope to work for a charity such as Habitat or Unicef in the future.”

Sinead reveals she has been “doing small bits of charity work” here and there since she was 14.

“This includes volunteering in local charity shops or taking part in random bucket collections or bag packs.

“Although they are small contributions and every little helps, I did not feel like I was making much of a difference so I am extremely excited to be going to Malawi to get first hand experience of helping people.

“At a recent meeting with some of the other people I will be going out to Malawi with, I was informed that, while I might think I am going out there to make a change to the people we’re helping, it will actually be them who will affect change in me.

“While it’s my life’s desire to do this, I know I will never be prepared for the heartbreaking poverty I am going to witness. I hope to come home a more grateful person.”

Sinead also paid tribute to her mum, step-dad and family friend, Breege McDaid, without whom, she says, it would be impossible to “take part in this amazing opportunity”.