Yorkshire businesswoman takes part in Vietnam school-building project

A Leeds businesswoman is flying half way around the world to Vietnam to help build schools for disadvantaged children.

Shirley Firth, financial director at SICL, is travelling to a region of Vietnam where many people lack basic facilities such as water, sanitation systems, electricity or even classroom structures to teach in.

Shirley will be working with ActionAid to build some of these facilities and help local children receive a proper education.

This will be the second time Shirley has partnered with ActionAid. Back in 2010, Shirley spent two weeks in a remote region of Western Nepal building shelter for people liberated from the system of bonded slavery known as Kamaiya.

Although they had been given land, the people did not have the resources to build permanent homes and suffered from overwhelming malnutrition and disease as they crowded into re-settlement camps, which should have only been temporary.

Shirley paid for the cost of the flights herself so that all money she raised went directly the project.

Working long, arduous hours, Shirley mixed cement, carried materials and built foundations so that the freed Kamaiyas would finally have a place to call their home and live a life of dignity.

Four years later, Shirley is back with ActionAid to provide children in Vietnam, who are some of the world’s poorest people, a brighter future.

Shirley said:

“I will be working with a school that has 114 children of primary school age but only has two classrooms to accommodate them all, so we will be helping to build a new classroom, toilet block and sanitation facilities.”

In most cases it is necessary to fundraise well ahead of the trip in order to pay for the basic travel costs, however Shirley has again generously paid for the full cost of the flights herself so that any money raised will go directly to helping secure the children’s education.

In addition to covering the base costs, Shirley is involved with other activities, with SICL and individually, to raise more money for the school.

Shirley added:

“To help reach our funding target, I have signed up to all three Jane Tomlinson ‘Runforall’ 10km races through the summer.

“It’s been a couple of years since I ran this distance, so although it’s not a marathon by any stretch, it’s quite a stretch for me.

“I managed to clock in 1 hour 14 minutes for the first race in Hull, which I think was a fair time considering that I was nursing a bad cold, and 1 hour 12 in Leeds. There is definitely room for improvement for the York race.

“So far I’ve raised over £1,100 which will all go directly to the cause.”

To learn about the project and donate to the cause visit: https://www.justgiving.com/Shirley-Firth

Shirley Firth, financial director at SICL

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