Dunbar teenager heading to Thailand to help teach children

A TEENAGER who left school a matter of months ago is raising money to go back into the classroom… in Thailand.

Rebecca Porteous finished Dunbar Grammar School this summer but, rather than immediately go on to university, she is looking to help youngsters on the other side of the world.

She is hoping to raise nearly £7,000 as she works alongside the Project Trust to provide educational support to children.

The 18-year-old will spend 12 months in the Asian country after jetting out this time next year.

She said: “I think some days you think ‘oh wow, I’m actually doing this’ but most of the time it is excitement.

“You get such a perspective on life there and that’s what I want.

“My usual holiday is in Spain and you don’t really see different cultures.

‘A different perspective’

“I want to get a different perspective to life and see what it is like in different countries and cultures.

“It is more excitement now and I have had really good fundraising days.”

Rebecca, who works as a waitress at Dunbar’s Royal Mackintosh Hotel, has to raise £6,900 for the 12-month trip.

Already, she has been busy eating into that figure with a series of fundraising events, including a jubilee afternoon tea, a quiz night and selling homemade tablet.

She also took part in the Kiltwalk in Edinburgh earlier this month and has already passed the 50 per cent marker for her fundraising.

Rebecca, who is considering going into teaching if she goes on to university, was looking forward to getting involved when she arrived in South East Asia.


She said: “I will be volunteering in a primary school and that could be anyone aged from two up to 15 or 16.

“It’s just basic education.

“It’s a low-income country.

“I will be doing mainly English but also it could include drama, maths, music, art, literacy and PE.”

The Project Trust has more than 50 years’ experience of providing ethical international volunteering opportunities for young people.

Since 1967, more than 8,000 young people have volunteered in 67 different countries, ranging from Botswana and Zambia in Africa to Cambodia and Japan in Asia, and the Dominican Republic and Honduras in Latin America.

Each year, volunteers put themselves forward and the Project Trust whittles the number down.

‘Always wanted to do traveling’

Rebecca, who lives in Dunbar, said: “I have always wanted to do traveling and wanted to do it in my gap year.

“Somebody mentioned the Project Trust and I did some research.

“I applied and I did not think I would get in but I applied and you get put on a selection course.

“In normal times, it’s on the Isle of Coll but Covid stopped that. It was a Zoom course and it was two days.

“Basically, lots of other people from across the UK were there and they ask questions about you: why you want to travel, where would you like to go, what do you want to get out of it for yourself.”

Go to justgiving.com/fundraising/rebecca-porteous to support Rebecca.

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