by SHANNON SAVAGE
A FORMER pupils at Friends School has headed
off to Kenya with her new employer, Christian Aid.
Ruth Miskelly, (19), is travelling as part of
her GAP year with the international development agency, in whose
Glasgow office she is now working.
Ruth first arrived in Glasgow a year ago to
study speech therapy at Strathclyde University. She chose the
city because she was told that Glaswegians have 'a similar sense
of humour to the Irish, so you'll feel right at home'.
But, though she loved the city, Ruth decided
that speech therapy wasn't for her and over Christmas 2006
decided her future lay in international development. She applied
to join Christian Aid's GAP year programme, was accepted and
started in the charity's Glasgow office in August 2007.
Ruth's role is supporting students in the
various universities in the city, and she's looking forward to
the new experiences the Kenya trip will bring.
"I really can't believe that I'm going to get
to see Africa - I feel privileged to get the chance to meet
local people and learn from them", she said. "I hope to see
clearly the effect that my lifestyle has on the lives of others,
be inspired to make changes where my behaviour has negative
impacts on other people and, knowing the positive result that
Christian Aid projects can have in local communities, be
encouraged that global issues are not too big to be tackled.
"I'm glad that I am in a position that when I
come back I can share what I've experienced with a wide range of
students in Glasgow, not just my family and friends. This will
be a real chance to make a change and live out my faith."
Ruth and the 17 other GAP year volunteers
travelling from Christian Aid offices around the UK will spend
two weeks in Kenya, a country where more than half of the
population survives on less than $1 a day. Life expectancy there
is 49 and six per cent of the 34 million Kenyans are HIV
The volunteers will visit Christian Aid
partners working on economic justice, livelihoods, climate
change and HIV projects.
Robert Pearce, Christian Aid GAP year manager, said: 'We've
been delighted with the popularity of the Christian Aid GAP
scheme and have been oversubscribed every year. "This year is
our biggest group yet and we recognise the enormous contribution
these enthusiastic young people make to the organisation. They
add a new dimension to our work and are an invaluable resource
in reaching out to the 16-25 age group." The scheme is open to
anyone over the age of 18 who wishes to take a year out during
or after studying, or who just wants a change in their career.
For more information about the scheme send an email to
firstname.lastname@example.org or visit