A teenager is swapping her village in the heart of the Yorkshire Dales for a village in the northwest of Bangladesh for the next three months.
Eighteen-year-old Naomi Howlett, a former pupil of Settle College, is leaving her home in Malham and heading to a remote village near Rangpur on the border between Bangladesh and India.
She is going as part of the VSO/ICS (Voluntary Services Overseas/ International Citizen Services) initiative which is a scheme for 18 to 25 year olds supported by the British Government.
After a week long orientation in Dhaka, Naomi will head to her village where she will be involved in primary health care.
“I will be paired with another UK volunteer and a student from the University of Dhaka and together we will be working alongside the village youth group,” she said. “We will be living with a host family and will be involved in developing access to health care.
“This is an adventure of a lifetime which I am really looking forward to and hope I can contribute something to the community in Bangladesh.”
In preparation for her trip Naomi visited the women’s group at the Bangladeshi Community Centre in Keighley where the women gave her some tips about what to take, how to behave and gave her a taste of some Bangladeshi food.
VSO was set up in 1958 and has worked in Bangladesh since 1964.
This placement has been made possible thanks to financial support from family and friends and donations from St Andrew’s Church in Skipton, Skipton and Settle Rotary Clubs, Skipton Sorptomists and the Jeremy Willison Charitable Trust.
To boost funds further Naomi has worked at the Listers Arms and Miresfield Guest House in Malham, has raised money running a coffee shop at her local church and she took used goods to a car boot sale.
For the past six years, Naomi has battled against hemiplegic migraines which have left her unable to walk some days and chronic fatigue; which meant getting to school was tough. But she has persevered and sees this as an amazing opportunity.
“I am looking forward to sharing stories of Bangladesh when I get back,” said Naomi who intends to go on to study mathematics..