Physio volunteers for orphanage work

Physio sets out for Vietnamese orphanage

HANNAH MCKEE
Last updated 05:00 10/01/2014
holly mccabe
CAMERON BURNELL/Fairfax NZ

LENDING A HAND: Wellington physiotherapist Holly McCabe will spend eight weeks volunteering at orphanages in Vietnam.

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Many twenty-somethings visit Vietnam for great food and beautiful beaches, but physiotherapist Holly McCabe will be spending her time helping out at orphanages.

McCabe, 24, has been selected as a sponsored, volunteer physiotherapist to spend four weeks in Huong La orphanage near Hanoi and four weeks at the Tam Ky orphanage and Peace Village near Da Nang.

"I'm being sponsored by a couple called Dean and Michelle Spicer," The Habit Platinum physiotherapist says.

"A friend of mine from physio school did it last year and he said it was a great experience and passed my CV along to them."

Holly became intrigued and inspired by her friend's blog, and was thrilled when she discovered she too would have the experience.

"It was amazing to see the difference between the resources we have and what they have. [Yet] the kids he was working with were among the happiest he's ever met," she says.

"They've got quite broken wheel chairs, a high ratio of kids to cots, not enough beds for children and a lot of it will be just trying to position the kids in different ways so they can stretch different muscles."

McCabe understands that part of her trip will be challenging.

"I'm excited but very anxious. I know it will be a culture shock.

"A lot of the children are quite disabled from the effects of Agent Orange [used by the US military in the Vietnam War] and it's a bit upsetting to know that could have been avoided."

McCabe came to Wellington two years ago from Dunedin, where her interest in physiotherapy sparked from often injuring herself at netball.

She hopes that experience with her 42 cousins might have prepared her for being around lots of children.

"I'm just a bit anxious about changing nappies, I'll be kind of just one of the team I think so there will be a bit of that involved too.

"The language is very hard to learn but I think a smile and a hug is pretty universal."

McCabe leaves for Vietnam on February 15.

PLEDGE ME

Holly has started a Pledge Me account to fundraise for the orphanages she visits. To read more about her journey and donate, see pledgeme.co.nz/projects/1734.

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