Off to Costa Rica

Costa Rica Expedition for local young people

Crossing a near frozen stream at dawn is not everyone’s idea of fun but it’s a skill these young people may need when they head off to Nicaragua or Tanzania this summer.

The picture was taken at a ‘boot camp’ run by Raleigh International last month to select young people with the resilience to do well on a six week volunteering experience abroad where they will help support building and educational projects in poor villages.

Westbourne Resident Zeyad Al-Harti To our, and their delight, two young clients from the Westminster Work’s employment programme were selected. Matthew Manning from Church Street and Zeyad Al-Harti from Westbourne both won sponsored places and will be setting off to Costa Rica in June and July.

Matthew Manning , 20 years old, will be off to Tanzania, “I have always wanted to do something like this,” he says “but I could never afford it just on my own. I volunteer now in a club to help young people but this trip will be a whole different experience. I can’t wait to go!” His career goal is to be a primary school teacher.

Winning their places took a lot more than just wet feet. The successful participants had to research and deliver a presentation to a panel of judges, attend a three day residential with day and night time outdoor challenges and now they have to raise a £700 contribution towards the trip (for which the real cost is nearer £5,000).

The pilot project to help young people from Westminster’s regeneration neighbourhoods to access overseas opportunities is being run jointly by Raleigh International, Crossrail and Paddington Development Trust.

Matthew has started fund raising already. His mother is busy baking cakes for a bake sale, his sister has offered her baby for sponsored cuddles and, if that doesn’t raise enough, Matthew plans to make money by taking on his mates’ challenge to shave his head.