OE means orphanage experience for Erin

HANNAH FLEMING
Last updated 07:35 25/07/2012
tdn orphan stand
ROBERT CHARLES
Erin Pearson is heading to Pattaya, Thailand, to work in an orphanage in October.

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Kindness goes a long way, according to New Plymouth's Erin Pearson.

The 23-year-old plans to put that motto into practice when she heads to Pattaya, Thailand, to work in an orphanage in October.

The Work and Income case manager said stumbling across an orphanage during a trip to Bali in 2010 first sparked her interest in the upcoming venture.

"I asked if I could go in, just to experience the culture more than anything. "I was so taken aback by the kids when I went in there. It was such an overwhelming experience," she said.

Ms Pearson will work in a section of the Pattaya Orphanage which is home to newborn babies through to 3-year-olds.

While she admits she is not one to get "clucky" over babies, the Big Brothers Big Sisters mentor said she expects to be blown away by the experience.

"I imagine the connection I make in three months with the kids will make it difficult to come back home without a few tears.

"Obviously it will be difficult to leave without wanting to take them all home."

While most of her friends are off travelling, or earning the "big bucks" in Australia, Ms Pearson felt taking unpaid leave to go to Thailand would be much more rewarding for her.

"I don't really want to follow the pack, I really wanted to do something a bit more unique," she said.

About 46kg of baby clothing has already been donated to Ms Pearson, and although it is making her baggage allowance costs a nightmare, she is grateful for the support. "A lot of people are bending over backwards for this in terms of their clothing donations. It's hard to believe."

Ms Pearson said despite knowing she will miss her family and friends, she had no doubts the benefits of what she would learn and achieve during the experience would be worth it.

"I've realised that I can't change the world, but at least I can try to do my best to help."

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