June Hayes has lived a relatively comfortable life. The grandmother of 11 is downsizing her Manly home and has spent the year composing and recording her own music.
But the end of this month will see June taken out of her comfort zone and placed in a Third World country.
She is travelling to the Typhoon Haiyan-devastated Philippines to assist with the Children's Programme on Tablas Island, Romblon Province.
The 57-year-old says her decision to volunteer came from the heartbreaking coverage of November's disaster - the Philippines deadliest typhoon that killed at least 6000 people.
"I saw some footage of a father holding his little child in his arms and it broke my heart," she says.
After researching her options, June contacted the New Zealand founded Global Volunteer Network, which placed her on a four-week programme starting January 4.
She will be working with the teachers and supporting the children with general learning, creative arts and music.
Having never been to an underdeveloped country, June says she wants to help in any way she can.
"In comparison, [my grandchildren] have everything they need in life, so it will be so fulfilling to be able to provide the same care for children who are less fortunate."
June is the only Kiwi volunteering, and needs to raise around $7000 to fund her trip. This sum covers things like programme placement, airfares, travel insurance, and vaccinations, which "are hideously expensive".
"I'm selling a lot of furniture and old things I don't use anymore to raise money."
June hopes to publish a photographic story of her time in the Romblon province when she returns.
"For me it is about contributing to the greater cause on a global scale. I want to make a difference somehow and help with these children's lives and education," she says.
She would like to thank many of the businesses that have already contributed towards her trip, on such short notice, like Hiway Stabilizers, GJ Gardner Homes, Dad's Pies, New World Orewa and Hopper Construction.
An online fundraising site has been set up to assist June in meeting her costs.
Visit givealittle.co.nz//cause/helpingthechildren or contact June directly on 09 424 3370.
- Rodney Times
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