I left Pres in 2005 and did a 4 yr undergraduate course - BSc International Development and Food policy - in UCC. In my 3rd year I had to do a 6 month placement and I ended up doing mine with the Edith Wilkins Street Children Foundation (EWSCF), Darjeeling. Little did I know how it would shape my life to come more than I ever could have imagined. When I returned home I became a member of the Committee in Cork and helped raise some funds and awareness on the Irish side.
After graduating from UCC I did a LLM International Human Rights in NUIG. Following this I went for an internship in Palestine with a child rights organization called Defence for Children International. Prior to this, a position had come up with EWSCF in Darjeeling and Edith asked if I would be interested to take the job so a few months after returning from my internship in Palestine I moved to Darjeeling. That was at the end of 2011 and 9 years later I'm still here!!
I am now married to Gautam who is from Darjeeling and we have 2 sons Kyle (4) and Rian (2). I worked with the EWSCF for 5 years as the Overseas Director and when I left the position I started working with my husband who has an Adventure Tour business called Adventures Unlimited Darjeeling; we organise treks in the Himalayas and motorbike and mountain bike tours and rentals; although there isn't much tourism now with the situation unfortunately. I also work part time for another NGO on their mental health programme for school children.
At the moment the team are trying to provide for the 300+ children they take care of directly and indirectly while also supplying dry rations and emergency for local families, most of whom would be daily wage earners and are simply not able to provide for their families right now. I have been trying to help get some local donations and aid to the foundation but also to reach out to people at home in Ireland to help support their work in this difficult time.
I am very proud to say I come from a school that immediately pulled together to organise a fundraiser in order to support this urgent and important work. I cannot thank the management the staff and the students enough for this. During this extremely difficult time it has made me feel very connected to home and happy to say that I come from such a generous and supportive community. The biggest thanks of all comes from the EWSCF team. Your efforts will make sure they can reach as many children and families as possible who need their help more than ever.