Erin Masterson and Precious from when 24-year-old Erin volunteered in South Africa
A kind-hearted Wishaw woman has taken a two-week holiday from her work in the town to travel over 16,000 miles to help educate children in Uganda.
Nervous flyer Erin Masterson jetted 8000 miles to the landlocked African nation on Sunday where she will work tirelessly for a fortnight to help educate some of the world's most underprivileged kids.
This is the second time the 24-year-old former psychology student has undertaken voluntary work in Africa, having completed a four-week stint at a South African orphanage in 2009. Erin expects this trip to be just as testing as her last stint there.
She told the Wishaw Press: "I graduated in 2009 and was keen to work with kids and do something a wee bit different.
"I found a project working and living in a South African orphanage for children aged between two and six who had been indirectly by HIV, with parents who had either passed away or could no longer care for them."
Erin was a resident at the Silver Oaks Montessori pre-primary school for a month.
"It was a really humbling experience," she said. "I lived with the kids for four weeks, taught on occasions and managed a creche. It was such an eye-opener to the resources we have here in the UK and how little other people have available to them.
"Despite what all the children had been through, they were all so warm, happy and loving. The whole experience turned out to be best time of my life!"
Three years on and Erin is now heading out to complete more missionary work, this time at the Ruhanga Development School in a rural area of south-west Uganda.
She said: "This time it's not an orphanage but a rural school in Uganda I will be working in. I think it will be more hands-on working throughout the day teaching kids.
QI will either be helping out with the village teacher or working on my own classes.
QRuhanga is quite a small village from what I gather, so I feel like I'll get to know quite a lot of people and the whole experience will be really rewarding.Q
Asked if she had any butterflies before setting off on her adventure, Erin said: "I'm not nervous about going. The only scary part for me is the flying because I'm a bit of a nervous flyer but I really just can't wait to get over there.
"I think the draw to doing these things for me is both the sense of adventure and being able to help people. I'm passionate about supporting people and love experiencing new cultures and different ways of life. The UK co-ordinator for the school encourages volunteers to fundraise as much as they can to help the school, so myself and some friends did a sponsored fancy dress walk round Strathclyde Park last Sunday. We raised £800 which is absolutely fantastic and that money will go towards building a new classroom, so thankyou to everyone who donated!"
On her return from Uganda she plans to become a full-time teacher.