STUDENT James Fox is taking a break from studies to fly out to help some of the poorest people in the world, many of whom are also suffering major health problems.
The 19-year-old from Wisbech has just completed a two-year health and social care course with the College of West Anglia (COWA in King’s Lynn.
But he’s postponing thoughts of university.
“I wanted to take a gap year and decided to apply for Voluntary Service Overseas,” said James, who is thinking about a career in nursing or possibly social care.
He was allocated a place working with some of the poorest families in Nigeria helping to promote women’s rights and also helping those with HIV.
“I’m happy to be going to Nigeria, I think it will be a bit of a culture shock and will be very challenging but I’m really looking forward to it,” said James, who is the eldest of Catherine and Stephen Fox’s three children.
He was due to make the journey of more than 3,000 miles to Nigeria yesterday (Tuesday) - his first time of being abroad except for a school French exchange trip.
During his three month stay will be living with a local family in Kwara State.
“I am nervous,” said James. “I haven’t even been abroad before, but I’m sure it will be very interesting and it will be a great experience.”
Fellow students and staff ay COWA were among those who helped him raise more than £900 for VSO, including a 109-mile bike ride to Norwich and back on Saturday (July 7) and a cake stall at the former Alderman Jackson School centre in King’s Lynn where he completed his course when it was switched from Wisbech.
The state where he will be living in Nigeria has a population of some 126,000 people, living on less than the equivalent of 40p a day.
James will undertake a work placement while there but will not find out what this includes until he lands in the West African country with a group of other students.
Once he returns to the UK, he will be involved in passing on his experiences through an Action At Home programme and hopes to talk about this to students at the College of West Anglia.
He began his studies with a year spent at the Wisbech campus, before transferring to King’s Lynn. He anticipates earning top grades in his subject and is looking to go to university in September 2013.