A Crieff schoolgirl has been chosen to spend a gap year helping underprivileged children in a Cambodian orphanage.
Now, 17-year-old Fidra Sym is working to raise the £5400 she needs to fund the once-in-a lifetime opportunity.
Fidra, who is in her final year at Crieff High School, will travel to Cambodia in August with educational volunteering charity Project Trust, which places young people in a variety of long-term ventures overseas.
The local teenager was selected for one of the organisation’s social care projects following a course on the Isle of Coll and will look after orphaned youngsters as well as teaching some English classes.
She admitted: “I’m really looking forward to going out there and doing everything I can to make a difference to the lives of the children.
“The project is ideal for me because I have always wanted to travel the world but didn’t want to just go as a tourist.
“I really want to get to know a place well and make strong connections with the people there while doing something worthwhile with my skills.
“I hope I will be challenged as a person, become more independent and learn new skills.”
During her selection course last October, Fidra had to take part in a variety of different tasks aimed at assessing whether she was up to the challenge of spending a year abroad helping others.
She said: “We stayed with a local host family and we had to do different challenges such as digging out some potato fields and teaching.
“There were different exercises to test various skills and see which projects we would be suitable for.
“We also learned about how the charity works, the different countries it is involved with and about how to raise funds.”
Fidra will return to Coll for more training in the summer and will also find out exactly which Cambodian orphanage she will be working for then.
But first she must raise the funds needed to cover her travel costs, insurance, accommodation and food during the gap year.
So far, Fidra has raised £700 of her £5,400 target thanks to her talents in making attractive hand-made gift items to sell plus some generous donations.
Fidra makes sock animals, jewellery and needle felt brooches to order and also sells them through craft fairs.
She is also planning to raise more money through fundraising events such as a bingo tea and a three-day sponsored silence over the coming months, and will also be applying to organisations which provide grants.
She added: “I’d like to try to teach them different skills which perhaps they wouldn’t otherwise have a chance to learn – maybe I can help them develop craft skills, for example, so in the future they could start up their own business. The charity also encourages us to get involved in helping out in the local community as much as possible which is something I am keen to do.”
Fidra will also get six weeks holiday during the year so she will have a chance to do some travelling.
On her return she hopes to go to university and study sustainable development.
To donate to Fidra’s cause, or order a hand-made gift, email firstname.lastname@example.org