Rotary President Mike Robson welcomed Holly Kidd, a former pupil of Mearns Academy, to give a talk on her recent gap year.
She travelled to Malaysia as a volunteer English teacher. The trip was organised by Project Trust, one of the largest established Gap Year organisations in the UK sending students to voluntary projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
It is based at the Hebridean Centre on the Island of Coll where Holly had to complete a rigorous selection and training course prior to being released on her Malaysian adventure. The total cost was some £5500 which tested Holly’s fundraising ingenuity but fashion shows and other ruses along with the generosity of many including the Rotary Club ensured that she was on the plane to Kuala Lumpur.
A fairly diffident young lady left Edzell and a far more confident, inspired and self assured one returned a year later. She gave a really absorbing talk on the project with great detail on Malaysia – its scenery, food, ethnic make up, education and dress.
However, her teaching skills were severely tested when she tried an impromptu Malay language lesson on her Laurencekirk Rotarian students! Holly taught mainly social and conversational English in a school of some 600 boarding pupils aged from 13 to 17 who were mostly of Islamic faith and this necessitated her to wear long clothes with her arms covered at all times.
Project Trust encourages young volunteers to travel around their host country at every opportunity and the Rotarians were treated to a carousel of slides of seductive Malayasian scenery with Holly’s detailed commentary. Her talk and appreciative comments assured the Rotarians that their small contribution to Holly had been a sound investment .