A young woman who was born profoundly deaf is fundraising for a trip to Sri Lanka to help children with hearing loss.
Iona Duff, 20, from Whitfield, is planning to volunteer with the charity VoluntEars, which arranges overseas volunteering for deaf, hearing and hard-of-hearing people of all ages.
Iona said: “I have been inspired by my friend Kim who previously made a trip to Sri Lanka.
“I have wanted to do this for a long time. I’ve always wanted to help people in other countries.
“In Sri Lanka, during the mornings I will be renovating a school for deaf children, refurbishing classrooms and painting murals.
“In the afternoons I will teach children some British sign language and I will learn Sri Lankan sign language.”
Iona will also learn to cook tasty curries as well as visit local markets, beaches and Buddhist and Hindu temples.
“I will be running cultural and fun educational games with local deaf students,” said Iona.
“I want to help people with difficulties who are deaf and blind and I want to learn different sign languages.
“I want to get more involved with the deaf community both at home and abroad.
“I am very excited about the trip. It will be a great opportunity and will help me to find my dream job in the future. When I finish this trip I will continue to help others and do more volunteering to gain more experience and to help make a difference.”
Iona is planning to go to Sri Lanka for two weeks, leaving in December 2020 and returning in January 2021. It costs £1,300 to go to Sri Lanka with VoluntEars and flights will be an extra £800.
Iona and her partner Ricci have been organising games for family and friends to help raise money for the flights.
To assist with fundraising she has set up a Just Giving page to help her reach her target. Visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/ionaduffy1.