Lesmahagow pupils raising funds to teach overseas

Lesmahagow High School Pupils Luana McAtear and Oliver Heaney who are fundraising to work overseas.  (Picture Sarah Peters)
Lesmahagow High School Pupils Luana McAtear and Oliver Heaney who are fundraising to work overseas. (Picture Sarah Peters)

Two Lesmahagow High School pupils are studying for their advanced highers just now, but when the school year ends, they will be heading for Third World countries as teachers.

Oliver Heaney and Luana McAtear will be teaching English in placements with the charity Project Trust.

They will also be involved in community building projects, and Oliver, an athletics coach at Milton Primary, will organise coaching in Guyana.

“The charity came and gave a talk at school and we were interested,” said Oliver.

“I know I am going to miss home, but it is going to be the experience of a lifetime.”

Oliver and Luana, both 17, are both young carers.

Oliver looked after his grandfather until he died at home, and Luana cares for an autistic younger brother.

Both intend to train as teachers on their return, Oliver doing primary teaching and Luana focusing on art.

“I am so proud of both of them,” said Oliver’s mum, Samantha Muldoon.

“They will be working with people who don’t speak English and who have nothing, who don’t have the necessities we take for granted.”

Samantha also praised Lesmahagow High for the way it nurtured young people, giving them the confidence to go out into the world and help others.

The pupils have a more immediate challenge through.

To take up their places, Oliver and Luana have to raise £6,500 each, with half of that to be collected by March, so their fundraising will be starting very shortly.

“That is a lot of tablet,” laughed Samantha.

Luana has already discussed having a dress-down day at the school to raise funds, and the charity’s insistence that they organise fundraising events in a way that challenges them means she expects to have polished her public speaking long before she takes up her place in Malaysia.

She knew of the charity’s work and was impressed by it before the Trust came out to the school and she is looking forward to playing her part in helping people.

Art has always been one of her passions, and she has a deferred place at university with the intention of becoming a secondary school art teacher.

“It will be a great experience, and I will find out what I want do do before I go to university,” said Luana.

“I want to help other people as well.”

Luana is really excited about the trip, but she is a bit worried about the fundraising.

“I have never handled that amount of money at all,” she said.

Luana has a fundraising page at uk.virginmoneygiving.com/luanagoestomalaysia
and Oliver’s is at uk.

There will also be a lot of frantic fundraising locally over the coming weeks, say the pair.

If you are in the Lesmahagow area and know of a fundraiser, support it and help these young people in their amazing efforts to help others.