By Grainne McCool @grainnemccool
A steady job isn’t always enough for a Donegal girl – and one is about to head to Fiji on a very altruistic adventure to help rebuild the cyclone-ravaged island.
Jade Diver, 24, from Muff, will be leaving behind a promising career as a corporate travel agent in Belfast to sleep on the floor of a Fiijan family’s humble home as she helps in the mammoth charity rebuild.
She will go back to basics, ditching all forms of technology to help rebuild a community destroyed by a cyclone on the island of Fiji.
Between the diet of living off the land and sleeping on a mat on the floor of a Fijian family, it will test my character in every possible way. I actually feel very honoured that a Fijian family is welcoming me into their home and community. This isn’t a tourist island so it really is a big deal for me to be there.
“I’ve just been through a crazy year and decided to take some time out and help others,” Jade said.
“I do realise that there are a lot of charities in my own country and even home area where I could be helping, but this will be my next port of call.
The opportunity of helping in Fiji will provide me with a new adventure as well as enabling me to make a difference to this devastated community.
The island of Batiki was destroyed by a devastating cyclone in February of this year. Fiji Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama said that “almost no part of our nation has been left unscarred.”
Cyclone Winston, believed to be the most powerful storm ever to hit Fiji, has left “a terrible trail of destruction in its wake and created a need that is great and urgent.”
Jade is hoping to help rebuild this community, where the only building left standing was a church.
She has been looking into charity work abroad and believes this is the perfect place for her to help charity and go on a journey of self discovery too.
Jade’s mother Margaret travelled to Peru a number of years ago with charity Children in Crossfire so charity work is clearly in the blood. Margaret loved her experience and this has inspired Jade to follow suit.
After Fiji I plan to return home and volunteer with some local charities here. I hope that the experience abroad helps me prepare to dedicate some long-term plans at home to help those less fortunate.
But giving up the day job to head across the world isn’t easy – and it takes a lot of organisation, said Jade.
“I’m so busy at the minute trying to fundraise for my trip that I haven’t had time to let everything register yet. I know it’s going to be a difficult journey but I’m certainly up for the challenge.”
Jade will be travelling to Fiji in June alongside a group of 20 volunteers. She doesn’t know the others and in any case, they will all be separated on arrival in Fiji.
Jade is focusing on the community she will be working in and has already started putting little things like colouring books and other hobby items together for the children there in her bag.
Over the next couple of months Jade will be fundraising in Muff and Belfast. She is organising hamper competitions and tea and coffee mornings, along with a ‘Stars in their Eyes’ night at her local bar and lounge.
And she is part funding her adventure from savings.
I’m hoping this will be just the start of many new charity adventures for me. I look forward to all the challenges and demands I will face over the coming months and I look forward to meeting them all head on with determination and in the process help these people, and in particular the children, get their lives back on track.
Anyone willing to help Jade with her fundraising can donate via her paypal at firstname.lastname@example.org