From Claregalway to Thailand, 21 year old Rachel Maher from Claregalway, County Galway has won an eight week EIL Travel Award to Thailand. The fully funded award was given by Cork-based EIL Intercultural Learning, which organises cultural and educational travel programmes worldwide.
Rachel has done a lot of volunteer work with her local community over the years and currently volunteers with the Galway Regional Youth Federation Ltd. Rachel applied for the Travel Award in January and impressed the EIL judges at an interview in March, securing her a place on the EIL Travel Award programme. She will shortly travel to Thailand for eight weeks—departing on the 31st of May—where she will live in a local community and work on an Art-Relief programme that supports vulnerable members of the local community, such as indigenous groups, refugees and children with special needs.
Rachel said, “I am absolutely over the moon! I have always wanted to go to Thailand, the culture there really interests me. I volunteer quite a bit here so I am really looking forward to the experience of volunteering in Thailand. I hope I will have a positive influence on the programme and I will make a difference.”
Established in 1994, the EIL Travel Awards give people the chance to apply for fully or partially funded learning trips abroad. Rachel will spend eight weeks in Thailand, where she will live in a local community and volunteer with an Art-Relief programme for vulnerable people.
“It’s great to see the change in people from when they go away to when they come back. Meeting them again, hearing their stories, feeling their excitement, and listening to how they’re going to apply what they’ve learned in their future endeavours is very satisfying for everyone at EIL” said Kevin Hickey, Director of EIL Intercultural Learning.
EIL is a not-for-profit organisation that is recognised as a “Peace Messenger” by the United Nations. The Cork-based organisation celebrates its 50th Anniversary this year and is marking this with a number of celebratory programmes and activities. The mission of the organisation is to provide intercultural learning experiences which enrich lives, promote understanding of other cultures and challenge individuals to be more globally aware and responsible. Further information on EIL is available through www.eilireland.org.